Over on the FastForward Blog, Bill Ives writes about some excellent ways to introduce wikis in organizations. He focuses on events and meetings – specifically holding asynchronous meetings on the wiki: “You should also encourage participants to sign their contributions, In a live meeting this is obviously part of the give and take. People need to know the personal context of remarks and who they are responding to.” That’s a great reason for explaining the value of associating your identity with your contributions. In a real-life meeting you’d have a tough time offering an anonymous comment on something, and even if you did try something outregeous like putting a paper bag over your head to feign anonymity, people eould still know who’s talking! People do need to know who they’re talking with so they can offer responses that are in the right context to have the best impact.
Bill makes a _great_ point regarding the need to follow what’s happening when they’re not on the wiki: “allow this to go somewhere besides the email inbox. I am not excited when a heated discussion on an email group suddenly drops twenty messages in my inbox. Take advantage of the common workspace here and do not drag in the sins of email spaghetti with its overlapping tangled mess.” If we switch to the wiki on the premise that it’s better, simpler, less tangled, and overwhelming than an inbox full of email, why would we want to take two steps back and fill our inbox with the same overload of messages, just generated by a different source? I’m a firm believer that to _really_ build a tight-knit community on the wiki, you have to be on the wiki itself and regularly, frequently contribute. Contributing a few times and then stepping back and just following from a feed limits the impact of the wiki. That’s not to say using a feed is bad and should be discouraged – just don’t let it be the only way you see what’s happening on the wiki. Being on the page itself lowers the barrier to contributing, since you can just click “edit” whenever you want to add or change something.

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