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Wikis are disorganized and discussion sites focus primarily on the top of the list. By combining aspects from the best of each of these types of sites a semi-automated framework can easily be implemented which will facilitate community communication and preservation of knowledge in an unobtrusive manner. One such framework is proposed.
This is a proposal for a dynamic community web site structure which overcomes the shortcomings of wikis and discussion sites. Combining the best features of wikimedia, Slashcode, and social tagging sites while eliminating some of their significant shortcomings will -hopefully- better serve communities of knowledge which engage in ongoing dynamic dialogue and which want to preserve and share their aggregate community knowledge in an organized manner.
Most wikis suffer from a spaghetti like disorganization which tends to increase with greater participation and time. The burden of organizing the tangle tends to grow in complexity and decrease in frequency as the wiki grows -to the point where many complain but nobody even attempts to organize the mess. While search facilities can help users get at the information these facilities can be rendered ineffective by the use of significant terms in large numbers of entries and by use of jargon -impeding new visitors who don't know what to search for. The exception to the propensity for wiki disorganization lies in inherently organized wikis like Wikipedia. An inherent organizing structure overcomes the procrastination and general distaste for mundane organizational tasks displayed by users of classical wikis. In the case of Wikipedia, each article is inherently interesting to the person accessing it. And the discussion of an article lays hidden behind the scenes -accessable to participants but out of sight to those simply seeking information. The trick is capturing the inherent structure of the content in the implementation of the site (ex. each page is an encyclopedia article.)
The most significant shortcomings of discussion sites come from their temporal arrangement. The earliest comments get more raw views yet are often not the most significant. Latter worthwhile comments get buried amongst idle chatter. Also, while a good editor might occasionally reference a past article the main focus is on chasing the zeitgeist and many gems are buried in yesterday's discussions only to sparkle again for a dedicated search engine user. The Slashcode community ranking of comments greatly enhances utilization of sites by winnowing out the chaff. This moderation process also provids another means of engaging users -in addition to submitting articles and posting comments.
A concept embodied in some social sites is tagging. Tagging is a means of marking items with multiple descriptive terms, tags. Typically users can create new tags for marking items. Ideally a lexicon of useful tags evolves over time which provides a form of organization. Synonymous tags or an explosion of one-off tag use can impede tag utility.
This proposal for a dynamic community web site relies on three categories of user action and one category of automated action integrated into a coherent framework. The inherent weakness of the proposal lies in reliance on significant community utilization .
User Stories [CREATE PAGE] to help with design/development.
Where might all of this lead? Well, here are some spurious ideas that came to mind while typing all of this. Implementor beware the Feature Creep!
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