Stowe Boyd picked up a point from Ian Ketcheson who wrote: „Wikis: Am I the only one who gets frustrated?” No! Of course not! We poor enterprise wiki victims, we are all frustrated! And i can tell why, it’s no rocket science:
Wikis do not incorporate the time dimension.
Any enterprise wiki user knows the problem: there is a lot of outdated contents you have to deal with. Knowledge often has a short half‐life period and is useless afterwards. But nobody cleans up your knowledge base, because its all self organized and nobody is responsible. In effect, the ratio between useless and useful information gets worse and worse every day. There is no functionality that makes fresher information more relevant. Sometimes you might wish for an autodelete feature after some time…
Wikis are focused on documents, not people.
„Wikis dissolve authorship”, Stepanie Booth makes this point in the discussion thread on Stowe’s post. Perfectly right. In a wiki, you don’t have the view on a specific person’s work. That’s a threat because of two reasons: first, people can’t be proud of their own work and show it to others, that will lead to decreasing motivation earlier or later. Second, other people can’t judge relevance of a piece of information because they don’t know who was the originator (this information is hidden in the version history).
Wikis require structured information force you to structure information upfront, which is a roadblock to information flow
A wiki is an approach to structured information – despite the loose linking of pages. You have to choose the place to leave your information first, and there are conventions that authors have to respect, e.g. summary and introduction at the top, references at the bottom etc. This makes a lot of work for you when you just have an idea or a thought that is worth to share with others. In the end people keep their information or – thats the case in the company where i work – they spam the staff mailing list.
What will work better than wikis for enterprise collaboration? Probably blogs do. I like Stowe’s idea of aggregating posts and comments via RSS to something like a discussion thread. I will think about it.