Wikipatterns

Stewart Mader provides practical, proven advice for guiding adoption of new technology. Drawing from the architecture and urban design book A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein, the techniques and case studies in Wikipatterns enable you to build an enduring, useful space for collaboration, whether your team is in the same room or spread around the world.

WikiPatternsBookCoverDedication, Preface, and Acknowledgements
1. Grassroots is Best
Case Study: LeapFrog
2. Your Wiki Isn’t (Necessarily) Wikipedia
Case Study: Johns Hopkins University
3. What’s Five Minutes Really Worth?
Case Study: Sun Microsystems
4. 11 Steps to a Successful Pilot
Case Study: Red Ant
5. Large-Scale Adoption
Case Study: JavaPolis Conference
6. Prevent (or Minimize) Obstacles
Case Study: Kerrydale Street Football Club
7. Inspirational Bull****
Case Studies: Constitution Day, Queensland University of Technology
Conversation: Jeff Calado
Conversation: Jude Higdon
Questions & Answers
Reviews on Goodreads
Order Your Copy

Here’s what people are saying about the book:

  • “Create an idea-sharing environment where incomplete can be linked together and from this, solutions emerge.” – From the book’s Foreword, by Ward Cunningham
  • “I’m going to recommend this without even reading it! Should be an e2.0 must-read top-shelfer…” – Susan Scrupski
  • “Just pre-ordered this from Amazon. Looks to be a good read and an essential tool in any E2.0 evangelist’s tool kit.” – Scott Gavin
  • “I love it when this happens, a blog I’ve read for ages (devoured some would say) gets published in book format. Needless to say my copy is already ordered.” – Gordon McLean

Patterns & Anti-Patterns

The exercise of introducing a new technology and shifting core activities to take advantage of it offers an opportunity to examine existing processes, workflows, and ways of organizing information. People should be encouraged to find the roles and methods that best suit them, since their patterns of behavior will help shape engagement throughout the community. For example, a person who likes to train others and help them get started with the new platform is a Champion. This, along with other patterns listed, are techniques for engaging with a diverse audience to build active, sustainable participation.

  • 90-9-1 – Participation on publicly accessible websites generally follows a 90-9-1 ratio of readers to occasional and frequent contributors.
  • Acknowledge – Find a culturally appropriate way to acknowledge and recognize dedicated contributors and excellent contributions. Empower peer recognition and encourage its use.
  • Ambassador – An ambassador is not a regular contributor, but does help increase adoption through their endorsement and consistent promotion of the wiki.
  • BarnRaising – Planned event in which a community meets at a designated time to build initial structure and content on the wiki together.
  • BlankPage – A page without any content is likely to stay that way because people are unsure what to post, or wait to post assuming the original author wants to start building it.
  • Bully – Opposite of a champion; someone who goes too far in pushing people to use the wiki.
  • Champion – Passionate, enthusiastic person who advocates for a new technology, provides guidance, reduces obstacles, and is essential to the success of adoption.
  • Charter – Guidelines for community collaboration and respectful, productive activity that should be created at the start of technology adoption.
  • FAQ – An FAQ can serve as a scaffold that enables a group to build information, and the finished product provides a focal point for the wiki to become a magnet.
  • Gnome – Person who performs small edits on a wiki to continually improve its overall quality (also often known as a Gardener).
  • IntentionalError – Make some deliberate errors for others to find and fix, thus getting them used to editing a wiki.
  • Invitation – Invite people to use a wiki. It’s a good way to guide their first interaction with it, and encourage non-early adopters (the majority of the population) to get involved.
  • Magnet – Post some essential information exclusively on the wiki, and make it unavailable from any other source, to entice people to visit the wiki.
  • Patron – A high-ranking person in your organization who supports a technology adoption project and, by doing so, confers a degree of legitimacy that can increase the likelihood of success.
  • Sandbox – A page designated for “practice” editing. This seems like a good idea, but may inadvertently hinder adoption.
  • Scaffold – Give people a place to start by “framing” the content that should be added to a new page.
  • Spectator – Someone who consumes wiki content but does not contribute to it by adding tags, comments or refining content is considered a Spectator.
  • Troll – Trolling usually provokes people by saying something philosophically negative about the current topic, while criticism should point out a fairly specific procedural or functional problem.
  • Viral – Once a few people begin to use the wiki, they often realize that they could be even more efficient if only their colleagues were using the wiki too.