While I’m not going to be in Montreal, I am planning to follow some of the activity being posted online. In addition to the obvious wiki coverage, WikiSym is rife with experienced bloggers and (hopefully) a few Twitterers. There are some events that are accessible online, even if the face-to-face discussion is not.
There is a film festival that includes a few wiki-related videos, including a trailer for a documentary on Wikipedia, “Truth in Numbers“. Other screenings include initial footage from “The Wiki Way,” “OpenFrame” (a documentary on RecentChanges camp in 2006 that everyone should watch), and a relevant selection from my absolute favorite group of videographers … CommonCraft’s “Wikis in Plain English.”
There are also three papers from the full proceedings that were especially appealing:
- Do As I Do: Authorial Leadership in Wikipedia (PDF) by J. M. Reagle
In seemingly egalitarian collaborative on-line communities, like Wikipedia, there is often a paradoxical, or perhaps merely playful, use of the title “Benevolent Dictator” for leaders. I explore discourse around the use of this title so as to address how leadership works in open content communities. I first review existing literature on “emergent leadership” and then relate excerpts from community discourse on how leadership is understood, performed, and discussed by Wikipedians. I conclude by integrating concepts from existing literature and my own findings into a theory of “authorial” leadership.
- DistriWiki: A Distributed Peer-to-Peer Wiki (PDF) by J. C. Morris & C. Lüer
In this paper, we present DistriWiki, a peer-to-peer wiki. Motivated by the fact that the client-server architecture of the Web has limitations caused by the centralized nature of Web servers, we designed DistriWiki as a more open, more distributed alternative. In DistriWiki, each user’s computer acts as a peer that stores redundant copies of wiki pages; in this way, we can reduce bandwidth and hardware costs, reduce the number of failures due to hardware and configuration errors, and avoid centralized organizational control of the wiki pages.
- Viable Wikis (PDF) by C. Roth
Wikis are collaborative platforms enabling collective elaboration of knowledge, the most famous and possibly the most successful thereof being the Wikipedia. There are currently plenty of other active open-access wikis, with varying success: some recruit many users and achieve sustainability, while others strive to attract sufficient active contributors, irrespective of the topic of the wiki. We make an exploratory investigation of some factors likely to account for these various destinies (such as distinct policies, norms, user incentives, technical and structural features), examining the demographics of a portion of the wikisphere. We underline the intertwining of population and content dynamics and emphasize the existence of different periods of development of a wiki-based community, from bootstrapping by founders with a pre-established set of rules, to more stable regimes where constant enrollment and training of new users balances out the occasional departure of more advanced users.
Since WikiSym shares conference marketing and space with OOPSLA, they also share speakers. An interesting Tuesday morning keynote has been scheduled—”Second Life: The World’s Biggest Programming Environment” by Jim Purbrick (Nottingham) and Mark Lentczner (Linden Labs). Jon Grudin will be speaking Monday morning, and wiki visionary Ward Cunningham will be on hand to give another inspiring community pep talk about wiki philosophy.
There are an estimated 120 participants in this WikiSym, up from the 70-80 that showed up in Denmark last year. It didn’t work out for me this year, but I strongly recommend making the effort to attend a future WikiSym. Lots of creative energy flowing from motivated and passionate people.Tags: CommonCraft, DistriWiki, film festival, Jim Purbrick, Jon Grudin, Mark Lentczner, Montreal, viable wikis, Ward Cunningham, Wiki, WikiSym