Wanna Wiki? Pick a Pattern

3 minute read
Angela Natividad avatar
While blogging is one of the simplest ways to get your enterprise all blinged-out for Enterprise 2.0, it's not the only option. Enter enterprise wiki. A major benefit of Wikis is that your site can keep serving up-to-date, dynamic content that's immediately relevant to users -- and it's the users themselves who create (and often even moderate) it. Could there be a dreamier solution for time- and cash-strapped companies trying to increase information relevancy on their websites, or build a loyal community? Enterprise Wiki vendor Atlassian Confluence thinks not.To assist you on your wiki odyssey, the enterprise wiki pros at Atlassian Confluence bring us Wiki Patterns, a system you can use to help organize the flow of information and the people populating your wiki.What is a pattern? Good question. Atlassian uses the Christopher Alexander definition from The Timeless Way of Building: a pattern is "a three part rule, which expresses a relation between a certain context, a problem, and a solution."Simply put, a pattern suggests a manner of action for one can be the rule for consequent others. Patterns recognize techniques and formations that practitioners of a given activity repeatedly encounter. They then turn this history of repetitions into a unique "pattern language" that describes the context in which such encounters arise, problems they solve, and how they go about solving them.With the use of pattern language, new members of a wiki are able to harvest benefits from the actions of those that came before them, and need not waste time making and solving old mistakes. Longtime users are also endowed with a taxonomy, or a way to classify and describe the concepts they've effectively created.Wiki Patterns lends a good explanation of how exactly this process works. Wiki frequenters who fix typos and broken links are imminently useful. Patterns give these people a description (WikiGardener) and also explains that the best kind of landscape for WikiGardeners is a wiki without a hierarchical structure, where everyone is comfortable making contributions, however large or seemingly small, like the small weed-pulling edits they make.The WikiPatterns tool box thus helps enterprises describe types of users as they appear more prevalently, and helps turn a thousand monitors of faceless strangers into a close-knit community of collaborators -- all of whom are here to help improve and grow the information that appears on a company wiki. To start an effective wiki or optimize a wiki you already have, check out WikiPatterns now. While you won't find a do-it-yourself program, you'll find a helpful directory and a series of tools to walk you through the process and give you an intimate understanding of your wiki world. In general the site contains sets of existing patterns and anti-patterns, a guide to major instances of wiki adoption so you know where to place your patterns as your wiki evolves.If you're a little nervous about this do-it-yourself wiki stuff, don't worry: there's help. User-friendly offerings from Zoho,SocialText, and eTouch can do almost all of the icky-wiki work for you.Atlassian Confluence is an enterprise wiki software purveyor with offices in both Sidney, Australia and our dear San Francisco, California. They derived their name from the Greek god Atlas, who carried the world on his shoulders. Atlassian feels it does the same job, except instead of bearing the world as punishment, they bring it legendary service.

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