Wiki Patterns

Patterns for successful wiki use

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Painting all systems that use wiki technology with the same wikiPaintBrush puts all of the ideas in the same conceptual basket for potentially skeptical prosumers.


You have a mature wiki system, with several important systems and sub-systems, successful patterns such as Magnet pages and wiki Champions and many contributors, you have mitigated several antipatterns such as Wikiphobia and WikiTroll, yet you still feel that at any moment the 'management' might decide to discontinue supporting 'the wiki' for new projects.


  • You have several systems that you've developed withing your organization wiki
    1. a Social Club called wikiFun
    2. a decision management portal called wikiDecision
    3. a software documentation site called wikiDocumentation
    4. a product knowledge-base that you've called wikiProducts
  • Perhaps your decision tree wiki fails because of lack of technological support for vector graphics in your wiki product, and the social club itself falls apart because of an underlying social dysfunction (these things do happen from time to time!). However, management and colleagues spontaneously abandon support for the wikiDocumentation and wikiProducts systems, despite their apparent success for the past 18 months.


  • You've confused technology with the purpose for each 'system'
  • You've focused on branding the 'wiki', and perhaps the cultural change, but neglected to brand the individual solutions or knowledge bases
  • You've enlisted wiki Champions, but there were no individual project champions


You may be inspired to take preventive action if you notice the following:

  • People referring to all of the systems as 'the Wiki', despite different groups of authors and purposes
  • Quotes like “I'll put it in the wiki”, or “How do I find X in the wiki” are common.
  • You sense an All Wiki All The Time mentality developing, despite the fact that there are many Champions and individual contributors using many different systems
  • Given the example above you find: A wiki-savvy colleague creates a 'Decision Tree' wiki solution either in their own wiki space, or some area completely unrelated to the wikiDecision product, or even in a different wiki application. (The point is, they knew about wiki, they just didn't know that wikiDecision already existed.)


  • Still use wiki technology for all solutions, just don't make the solution about wiki.
  • Rename everything to drop the word 'wiki' from the title if it doesn't help the brand for that particular product. (“SocialClub” rather than “wikiFun”, etc).
  • Carefully brand each solution so that it stands out on its own. To help keep the momentum of your wikiAdoption Lifecycle, you may choose to maintain subtle links back to the underlying technology/philosophy that allows each of these branded solutions to exist.
wikipaintbrush.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/28 15:13 by splitbrain