Blog Pile

What the Wiki is Happening? A Blank Wall, Free Spray Paint, and ….

We’re closely watching the NMC 2004 presentation on “Small Pieces Loosely Joined” wiki, checking the changes.. but beyond a few individuals, it is a pretty quiet place.

Okay, so I wrote a bit harshly on Martin for his own thoughts on the Pieces, but hey, I was bored! I fessed up and then commented a dozen roses.

Yes, bored! We’ve had a good response from folks out there writing their own blog entries for the session, with some nice things said. Great!

But we picked a silly process that should falsely polarize and provoke folks (Centralists, DeCetntalists, and Fence Sitters), and I have been hoping to stir things up a bit, some of it at Martin;s expense.

But what the #*$& wiki is going on? What we were really hoping would happen is that all you folks out there would jump in the wiki, and really muck around with the content! It is there, ripe, just lurking under that Edit Text of This Page link.

It’s like a fresh coat of paint on the walls of a large building in tough urban neighborhood, at the intersection of 3 rival gangs’ territory. A hardware supply truck takes the corner too fast, the back flies open, and a few cases of free spray paint land at the base of the walls! Why would the walls stay blank???

We do acknowledge Gerry’s comments that June is a slow time (vacations, other conferences, summer sessions in the northern hemisphere, yup- and thanks Gerry for being one person to grab the spray paint). But…

What hope is there for skeptical faculty and wide eyed students to latch on to wikis if the technical folks out there (yes, you geeks reading this stuff) are stepping softly in the wiki? Stop being so damned nice and polite, take a cut at the wiki!

Here is a hint- you will be able to do much more spray painting in the wiki if you do it before or after the session- things could get wonky when a lot of people are trying to edit wiki pages at once. So grab a can, shake it up, and start spraying!

What are you staring at? Get on over to the Pieces!

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Are there not perhaps other lessons to draw from the lack of contributions to the wiki other than we are all lazy or busy? Could it be that asking a bunch of bloggers to use a wiki runs counter to their need to possess/publish their *own* words? Could it be that wiki spaces that are already somewhat well populated intimidate people from adding to them, especially when they’re to be used for a presentation? Could it be that a wiki is just another technology like a disucssion board, and similar to a dicussion board can flop for many reasons, none of them having to do with it being a wiki?

    What’s interesting to me is that the discussion topic has been framed around whether using centralized or decentralized approaches is the right way, and yet the presentation itself, and the technologies supporting it, seem to me to clearly already have decided that using ‘loosely coupled’ or decentralized technologies is the best approach, and rather than promoting debate are themselves *advocating* for this approach. Is this tension, between debate and advocacy, possibly not also one of the reasons for the phenomenom you’re commenting on?

    Just a thought, now I’d better go add something to the wiki ;-) Cheers, Scott.

  2. Ahh, you nailed us, Scott. Sure the “topic” chosen conflicts with our approach, but the point is not to really decided if centralists or de-centralists is better, but to play the game. We chose s stupid topic just to polarize people.

    It looks like you could have done which is better, Blogs, Wikis, or CMS-es? or Mac vs PC vc Linux? or Coke vs Pepsi vs Dr Pepper??

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