Evolution Ofa Wikizen

Wiki participants, if they live long enough, generally follow this life cycle (evolution has the unfortunate connotation of always being positive):

  1. Wiki? What is this thing? No security? It doesn't seem like a workable plan at all. How do you get around here anyhow?
  2. It's just a glorified mailing list with a stoopid editor. For some reason there's content, though, so I'll ThreadMess with it.
  3. Hey, I've got an idea. I wonder what wiki will think of it? Let me start a page ... getting interesting ... hey, who ThreadMessed up my page?
  4. There're so many pages here that need my input. I wish I had more time. There're a lot of people who know what to expect from my signature now.
  5. Damn, there's been a bunch of idiots dogging my tracks for months. Every time I edit something, they go and crap on it. I'm gonna go refactor a bunch of stuff.
  6. I'm keeping backups of all the worthwhile pages I know, and I'm gonna spend more time refactoring than writing new stuff. Not that I want to, but signal must live!
  7. All right, enough of this crap. I'm going to rewrite the WikiMission pages so that everyone else will know how this wiki is supposed to be used. And I'll delete everything that is OffTopic. That'll show them!
  8. Wiki is dead. I still stop by to complain about it. It's not like it was in the good old days, back when we talked about {patterns|XP|languages|books|movies|wiki engines|politics|religion}. (And RecentChanges is a bad bad place. I'm now a RandomPagesJunkie)
  9. I want a new wiki, and this time it's gonna be run right, the way this place should have been. I'm smart enough, I'm skilled enough, and doggone it people like me. I'm gonna roll me a WikiClone and make me a community!
  10. I drop in from my abode in the ethereal clouds of WikiDom when I have something that's more relevant to C2 than MyWiki (and to see whether anyone has noticed that I'm gone). But now that bunch of idiots are dogging my IP number ...
  11. I never gave up when the wiki was suffering through the pangs of birth, or the tortures of growing up, I see in the wiki the nearly endless possibilites in employing the bursts of creative thought, the sudden glimpses of some new concept or practice, the value of thinking in the instant, and then later reflecting on the impulses and refactoring into meaningfulness. I have positive expectations about the other members of the community who have valued this place enough to place something worthwhile and lasting here for others to revalue, and hopefully grow to additional meaningfulness. I realize that transience is inevitable and that people will come and go, but I am here for the long haul, involving myself in where this NobleExperiment will lead next.

Is it usually like so? For me, stages 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, never happened. I put up my own wiki instantly after stage 2, but not because I wanted a better-working wiki, just because I wanted to experiment. (Of course, that wiki did grow into something.) For me, the big revelation was that "hey, these people actually care about the content of this place" - that this was something being worked on. That was new and exciting for me.

The above list is surprisingly pugnacious. The only thing I've ever complained about in wiki is that I felt quite unsupported when I got (by accident) into a stupid flamewar on JapanCountry? as a fresh and not-so-confident WikiZen.

I also wonder about creating pages being placed before editing pages in the list. I never felt a great urge to create my own pages on wiki - I've done it only a couple of times and mostly they've been left untouched by other people (undeleted, too). On a related note, nobody ever made a threadmess of my writings and even though I would like to refactor (for supporting the community) I always have the feeling that the discussions have good information in them. Maybe reading threadmess doesn't bother me enough.

I'm at level 4 1/2. And I think that's the optimum level. --KrisJohnson

I'd say I'm at level 6, except I actually want to refactor more than write. I learn more that way.

Can you go directly from 4 to 6? I never get irritated by a "bunch of [crapping] idiots". The occasional troll gets me down, but instead of taking the bait, I go reorginize the MakeProgram pages, something nice and uncontroversial. -- SeanOleary (Except when it comes to GNU make vs BSD make)

Some minor skipping or reordering of the stages has been observed in various people.

I'm at 20. Nice place, but lonely.

I refused to describe my addiction as typified by any level described above. So I added a new level, not meant to be the highest level, or level to which to ascribe, but one I can comfortably relate to. Evolution is about improvement. A Wikizen doesn't give up to egocentricity and making the world in his own image. Shouldn't Wikizenship be about learning and teaching in a community with worthwhile things to say and do? Isn't it all about making the place better?

Of course what you say is true. The original list was, I believe, intended to be a half-joking description of the (unfortunately) typical person who takes wiki way too seriously, gets disillusioned when the high wears off, and subsequently feels the need to start bad-mouthing wiki and its participants.

When i was at the "there's so many pages" level, i was skeptical about the higher levels - why would i want to refactor rather than write? Why would i want to start my own wiki - WardsWiki is everything i could ask for and more! And yet, i have now got my own wiki, and i haven't been reading this wiki for ages. Damn. I never went through the refactoring stage, though, although i did want to refactor; it just seemed like everything was being refactored nicely by a certain RefactoringWildMan as it was.

There's also a parallel route that splits off after stage 3 - WikiRapture. Depending on the person involved the condition may fade after an initial burst, or, in some cases, never depart, getting them shot down in flames on page after page and then causing them to leave Wiki in a huff.

If you want real evolution - not just progressing through time, how about:

  1. Follow external links here and read C2 pages for a while before realizing what this Wiki is.
  2. Skip the external links and go straight to the source.
  3. Lurk for a while to learn the customs.
  4. Begin editing pages.
  5. Re-read the Wiki customs pages and start making more productive comments.
  6. Start refactoring Wiki to make it great.
  7. Realize some kinds of refactoring were anti-social.
  8. Read the WikiTroublemakers? and avoid pointless arguments.
  9. Become a WikiGnome and edit the low level without disturbing the high level
  10. Become WardCunningham

I haven't reached the top yet. . . I think Ward would be annoyed if I did. . . -- LayneThomas

Also see: WikiYear, WikiMaster, [http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?CommunityRoles MeatBall:CommunityRoles]


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