I am a wikiholic

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Contents

Preface

I am a wikiholic. I am addicted to wikis. You know why? They help me develop my mind. In medieval times, internet pages were build by someone who knew™ and addressed to novices. An expert, say for the KDE desktop environment, sat down and thought about what could be interesting for newcomers. Then he wrote it. Wrong way, I say. An expert is not good in teaching. Someone who just learned is good in teaching. Being in export mode prevents you from remembering all the quirks. When I started with Linux, I had big problems getting software to compile. Then I found out that you are better off if you use your distribution's methods of installing software. A classical expert does not even recall this. Of course, I wrote it down. Now this description is available to all the world, not just me. And it can even be improved by other people. So, what do we have so far:

  • wikis allow people to share knowledge
  • wikis allow people to improve each other's content
  • wikis improve quality of documentation for beginners (if handled correctly)

But the most important point of all is the availability and ease of use. I wrote a tutorial about Installing Linux on a USB disk. I can access it anywhere I have internet. At the beginning, there were glitches in the article that I stumbled upon. Everytime when I did, I corrected the article. This availability of write access is the biggest advantage in my eyes. My wiki is like a giant notepad that I can read/write access anywhere I have internet. wikipedia is like a giant notepad of all people. If I cannot remember how I get the ™ sign onto html pages, I note it down on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_XML_and_HTML_character_entity_references#Character_entity_references_in_HTML. If someone already has, even better.

Comparison

In my long life, I have started with a static web page. It was a great fun these days because nobody had one. I could describe me a bit and tell about my hobbies there. That is great for everyone who is interested in my favorite color. But it is missing the good old effect that we Germans call "the appetite comes while eating". You made the page - you have it - you hate it - you have other things to do than changing it.

Companies

By using this work paradigm, you can boost your productivity like hell. Companies that are smart enough to provide their employees with wikis get a collaboration platform producing knowledge that stays even if the contributors leave the company. Two people together can write an article that is better than each individual's would have been. Want to share your knowledge? Write a whitepaper and get it published in the world wide web. Takes two months at least. And afterwards, you are annoyed because a little addition came to your mind that is not in the whitepaper and will never be. With a wiki, you can just spread your knowledge and move to your next project.

Downsides