Home Tracking conversations with Wikis

Tracking conversations with Wikis

Don Park has come up with some promising ideas on how to link weblogs with wikis. One of his ideas is for weblog comments to be cross-posted to Wiki pages, via some scripting that “can create or find” a matching Wiki page for each comment. For this to work, comments on a weblog post will need to be assigned a theme or topic identifier – then matched up with an existing Wiki page, or if no such page exists then one will be created on-the-fly. I especially like this comment from Don, as it resonates with my own Microcontent Wiki article:

“One great benefit is that comments are no longer second class information: isolated, unindexed, and often overlooked.”

My article stated that comments on a weblog post are like a “Microcontent Wiki”: it’s essentially a conversation based on the topic of the weblog post and anyone can participate. Don’s idea is to actually use Wiki technology to track weblog comments – that is, to track weblog conversations. If it can be done, it’s a revolutionary idea. The strengths of wikis are that there is one page per conversation (usually on one theme or topic), anyone can publish to them, and conversations can cross-link each other. The strengths of weblogs are that they allow people to own their own publishing space, entries are generally organised chronologically, and they are more flexible – you can expand on topics and organise them how you like. With weblogs, you’re master of your domain. However weblogs so far have not been good at organising content by topic, or tracking conversations. Which is of course where Wikis excel. So why not use the strengths of Wikis to enhance the weblogging experience! I think Don is onto something here.

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