The Wiki Conundrum


This is something which is debated in a lot of organizations, and this is something which wikipedia has also adopted … some amount of editorial supervision, on articles about living people. This is something which comes back to a question which has been asked before, about how reliable a source like wikipedia is. Having written about this before, the question comes up again. And i am talking about this question from the organizational perspective. The question is, how reliable is information which is written on a wiki application which may be deployed within the organization.

For example, what if someone writes an incorrect solution to a problem on a wiki which is meant as a Knowledge Database, and using this solution leads to further problems? Or, if someone writes something irrelevant or incorrect on the HR policy page? One could say that within the organizational context, everything written can be identified by author, but even so, this means that incorrect information could make its way to what is considered a reliable source of information. This could be more important if this source of information is required for some critical applications.

Does this mean one needs to ask what applications a wiki is ideal for, within the organization? If that is the question which one asks, the answer is maybe … or then, maybe not. The answer would depend on who is answering the question, actually. But, some people believe it isnt. There are certain applications for which a wiki is ideal, and some for which it isnt. Or, a solution, which is a hybrid. Hybrid would be a solution which is a wiki, but not open to authorship by all. For example, a software company, maintaining a bug-fix database using a wiki may want to have only specific teams writing to this wiki. Something like a knol? As i have written before, this seems to be a solution which could be useful in the organizational context.

Does this mean that a team wiki finds more utility than a corporate wiki? Please do post your comments.

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