My calendar finally aligned with a Wiki Wednesday last night and I’m going to make sure it does again in the future — I had a really good time. “JotSpot spy in the house” kidding aside, the Socialtext office with its glass-walled conference rooms (and keg!) is great for these type of gatherings. And with Peter “Twiki” Theony also hanging, there was plenty of good wiki going around.
Much of the conversation revolved around the pros, cons, and approaches of structure and process in wikis, particularly with respect to Microformats.
Kent Bye shared his Echo Chamber Project, who’s goal is to develop collaborative techniques for producing documentary film and news that break the 2–viewpoint ghetto and incorporate the multiple sources that more closely approximate “truth”.
Kent’s developing these techniques by creating a documentary on the run-up to the Iraq war. Wikis and microformats can help track all the details/sources/research/media around a given subject, giving access to primary sources so everyone can vet and contribute. Really cool stuff — gotta hook Kent up with my good friend Bart Cheever who’s putting together San Francisco’s DMAC digital media conference.
We also talked wikis and structure in a more general sense. Ross asserted that, “one man’s/context’s structure or process is another man’s/context’s hard-to-figure-out mess” (my paraphrase). While I agreed to this principle at a high level, my take was it’s human nature to create structure and process, and wikis are a great tool to scratch that itch. Rapidly ramping-up, re-factoring, and re-using structure helps keep it from becoming that impenetrable backwater. If done right. And of course the search for “right” is (and will likely always be) a work in progress.
Looking forward to the first Wednesday next month.