Wired News
Ryan Singel posted a story on the Wired Culture site on how wikis are currently used.

The article ponders whether is there a future for wikis other than the encyclopedia model, or will open collaboration be the exception, not the rule?

It then delves into how wikis are entering politics, the work environment, conference discourse, education, how they are affecting other kinds of software, including desktop publishing and video games, and why they sometimes fail.

The article ends with an interesting quote by Yoz Grahame, a developer advocate for Ning: “Although it seems that with wikis that people are just editing text, there’s something more important going on, which is the editing of structure. And quite often in the discussion parts, like the talk pages of Wikipedia, that’s where you see process evolving. The great thing about wikis is that since they are such blank and restructurable slates, we are able to evolve with them.”

Of interest is that the article itself was written using a wiki. It was open to editing by anyone willing to register.

So has it become a better story than the one that would have emerged after a Wired News editor worked with it?

Ryan Singel thinks not.

The edits over the week lack some of the narrative flow that a Wired News piece usually contains. The transitions seem a bit choppy, there are too many mentions of companies, and too much dry explication of how wikis work.

It feels more like a primer than a story to me.

That doesn’t make the experiment a failure, and we clearly tapped into a community that wants to make news stories better (which, for some, means links to their site). Hopefully, we’ll continue to experiment to find ways to involve that community more.

But I think the experiment shows that, in storytelling, there’s still a place for a mediator who knows when to subsume a detail for the sake of the story, and is accustomed to balancing the competing claims and interests of companies and people represented in a story.

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