Blog+Wiki=Bliki: entries edited by everybody
Short, concise description of the idea
Possibility in both community (if maintainer allows) and personal journals to have entries that can be edited by anybody (or just your friends), while keeping a recored history of past versions so anybody (who can edit) can also go back to a past versions.
Full description of the idea
I assume most of you know what a wiki is, and I will not describe it too much. A wiki is a shared site, that can be edited by everybody. Wiki have, by now, shown to be powerful, secure, and flexible tools. The security comes from the fact that past versions of the entries are stored, so that even if anybody can edit it, no information can be destroyed. (if user A edits an entry by eliminating all the content, user B just clicks on the history and reinserts the content).
A whole encyclopedia has been written by thousand of users, using wiki tools (wikipedia.org). So, what I propose is that a user could define an entry as wikiable. Such an entry could then be edited by (anybody else/ anybody logged in/ any of his friends/anybody from a particular filter), depending what the owner of the entry chooses. Other users would then have an easy time in correcting some obvious grammar errors, inserting links, and extra bits and pieces of information.
A similar suggestion have been presented for communities ( http://www.livejournal.com/community/suggestions/19784.html ) but with a more limited scope. I claim this would make lj make a really big jump in terms of interactivity, and power of the tool. On the edit page the user could set the default state for the entry (fixed, or wikable, and by whome -i.e. above options). In plus a community maintainer could define if entries are wikable at all, and if they can be made wikable to everybody or just to the user of the community.
The project is a major one, and should not be dismissed without some serious discussion, I firmly believes bliki will start appear soon, and at that time lj will be asked by the user/market to implement the feature. Being the first might give lj a jump start.
An ordered list of benefits
Possibility to create sheared entries: Wiki have shown to be powerful, possibility to use this power for lj users.
Possibility to have list of links, and anybody adding something.
The way in which in a wiki users improve a discussion is different than in a discussion board (you must have played on a wiki to have seen it). The possibility to have that sort of discussion for the users who wants it.
Possibility to have entries on something, with just a vague idea, and more and more people add bits and pieces.
If this was a wiki, you could add here something, and help me!
Some community post few important posts, in those communities the last post could get perfected over time.
Important wiki entries could easily become link places, that many people refer to. They would not only be historical posts, but errors would be corrected over time.
At the moment anybody can have a livejournal, and there is the illusion of a great democratization of the media industry. Unfortunately statistics have shown that even among blogs/journals a graph plotting popularity of users vs number of journals with so many readers, follow a power law graph (a line in a log log plot), that is there are very few journals being massivley important and popular, while the mass is being nearly unheard. Giving the possibility to journals to become bliki will help democritise the process. We will move into a duality in which you might have media on the one side (journals owned by a closed set of editors, unwikable, undependently of their size), and bliki on the other side (blogs that can be wikied, at least for a certain amount of time). It might even become a taboo to claim you are being grassroot on an unwikible context.
The world would be a better place
An ordered list of problems/issues involved
This year the public have discovered blogs, it will be some time before the average citizen is confortable with wikis and actually being able to make a difference! In short there will be more request of clarification, and requests of help from the support group.
Also wiki in general are used by an older (and more mature) audience than the average teenager in lj. Abuses might temporary (unless a major reputation system is in place -only user above this confidence can edit an entry-, and I am not sure I would second that)
wiki have shown that the first reaction users have when given the opportunity it is to try to break it, just to see if it is possible. The history works, but it will be annoying for some time.
Entries will take more space in the memory, for example if an entry has been edited n times, it will take n times that much space. It's not a lot, but it might become relevant ( To solve this some wikisite only keeps one week of history on site).
It will disrupt the safe and simple way to view the world that some people have. Some people (user C) might find psycological problem in having someone else (user B)permitting their entries to be edited by thirds (user A).
There might be some difficulties with the rss feed. I haven't looked into that, but might be something about blog being a one time process, and wiki being a permanent page.
We normally assume that when an entry has been read in the friends page it is not going to change. It will not be
like this anymore. It will be necessary to have some settings on the friends page (or a different friend page) to deal with wiki. Whould recently edited bliki entries bubble up at the top of the friends page. Should we have a separate page where we address wiki, when we see them in our friends page? There is a lot of work on this that have to be done, before everybody will be saddisfied.
More mails coming from the user (because of course if someone is editing one of my pages I will want to be informed!)
The coding is not that easy. Especially when you need to find the differences between to versions of a long entry. Specific software might need to be involved.
If I were the governement I would not like it: too subversive!
An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation
It is not hard to add the basic feature of giving anybody the ability to edit an entry. It is all that is around that will make it harder. There will be the necessity of 3 extra drop down menu: one in the edit page asking what will the default level if wikiness will be for new entries, another on the edit page of comunities for the comunity maintainer to define the maximum level of wikiness of entries, and one on the edit page of the entry, where the actual wikiness of the entry will be defined.
There is the need for some discussion of the type that is going on right now about categories on lj_dev. Probably a second list of entries in the friendspage. Something aloneg the lines of:
And then the s2 programmer will define (depending on the args) what entries will be seen. This will effectively double the number of entries available, but how exactly are going to be seen will be user dependent. I see some problem, regarding what index (the edited entries, or the new entries) you do go back, when you go to the previous friends page.
I am available to discuss it.