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The Next Wiki Boogey Monster

Created by reid. Last edited by reid, 3 years and 287 days ago. Viewed 1,757 times. #2
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We identified eight wiki boogey monsters, i.e. potential problems that wikis may have. These are listed below:
  • Vandalism - seems to be more or less understood, and workable solutions (i.e., critical mass of users and tools to make repair easy) exist.
  • Misinformation
  • POV-warring or axe-grinding - due to the open nature of wikis, people who have differing opinions about content are free to have edit wars about those pages (and restricting this ability reduces the open nature). This wastes productive time and drives away other editors who may have more useful things to contribute. Eventually, the pages in question may become more about the conflict over content than the content itself, reducing their utility to readers.
  • Wikis are a "time-ocracy" - i.e., wiki pages reflect the opinions and perspectives of those who have the most time to spend on them - and these are not the people with the most knowledge.
  • Growth - really successful wikis like Wikipedia require tremendous resources in terms of hosting costs, etc. What happens if Wikipedia runs out of money? Who will pick up the slack? One possibility is a large, rich corporation with a nonaltruistic agenda. Growth and success also attracts legal problems, e.g. lawsuits from Scientology.
  • Shilling - Wikis are vulnerable to shills. Politicians and corporations have already been observed to use paid shilling to improve their image on Wikipedia.
  • Honeymoon period - Jonathan Grudin pointed out that there are differences between how we think and want people to behave and how they actually behave. Wikis are very new. What if wikis don't actually match how people behave, but we are currently in a honeymoon period and this is not yet clear? i.e., will "assume good faith" really work in the long term?
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