Looking at how Wikimania is progressing, it is doing very well with a huge number of submissions. They are thinking about how a wiki conference should go, which is fantastic.
The value of this is amazing. I can already read papers as they are being written and incorporate them into my talk in real-time. e.g. http://en.wikibooks.org/w/index.php?title=Wikimania05/AB1
With a Hackathon for the developers, user groups, academics, business users. Thus, it creates a point of interchange between those groups. Considering almost all the knowledge about how wikis are used are in the wider community, not to mention the power, and not in academia, this approach is necessary to be considered credible.
Further, there are many WikiMedia community events, which promotes rather than subordinates the existing and rich community of practitioners that not only need to be respected and fostered, but have subject expertise that exceeds academic knowledge.
This reflects the fact that the wiki as a tool is not a disciplinary subject (disciplines focus on methods, not hammers), but rather provides a neutral ground for all disciplines who are using a wiki to come together to cross-pollinate.
Sociology, software development, education, etc. are all present.
I think any Internet conference will do well to build on the expectations of its audience who already have prior conceptions about how knowledge is built using the Internet.
Therefore, rather than excluding 'bad' papers, the wiki method is to work together to improve them by building a community around them, and then teaching each other how to do better.
I think the question 'what is research' needs to be set within the context of wikis, the Internet, and OpenAcademics. Open the doors! It's better to synthesize a lot of diverse inputs than to assume a notion of stable expertise in an unsettled, still developing area. In other words, orient net.conferences to open ears and provide spaces to let people say what they know, so we can mutually learn from each other how to better our own practices.
But, academics can't publish to non-academic conferences because of 'tenure'.
Does that actually matter? The more academics exclude themselves from interacting with actual practitioners, the more irrelevant academics is, and whose problem is that really? Are 'average' people expected to wait around until TheAcademy deigns to impress itself upon our tabula rasa souls? What are they doing that cannot be replicated by 'average' people? Obviously the old boys club will only wake up once there is a net.academy that is kicking their butts, much like every other old access/distribution institution (think music, movies, books).
I feel bad for people who are genuinely interesting that are stuck in the tenure track system. A better solution is to provide AcademicPeerReviewed fora during the same conference event that creates spaces for 'average' people (i.e. the actual experts). That way academics get their stamp of approval whilst giving them access to join the wider pool of people generating the implemented ideas.
I'm seeing all kinds of "event wikis". Sep 20, 2005 - A wiki workshop at the "remote education conference" in Hamburg - wants preparations in its wiki. Nov 7, 2005 - A half-day Wikiposium in Vienna wants to establish its wiki. How should that work? I think that a common system to publish (prepare, PeerReview) wiki articles of certain quality would make sense. Maybe a topic at WikiSym's interwiki workshop, Bayle? Maybe a task for the meatball society, Sunir? -- HelmutLeitner
A CommunityWiki:WikiProcess for event wikis. Good idea.
I'm sure a whole workshop could be on various WikiProcess?es. For instance, a WikiProcess? workshop could compare and contrast the WikiProcess?es of known wikis, inventorying the different styles like SoftSecurity and the different pieces of styles like UseRealNames (not that we don't discuss that a lot already; but that's why it's a good topic for a conference). -- BayleShanks
Is there something wrong with the conference wiki? I'm getting 502 Bad Gateway errors now when trying to access it (it was fine yesterday). -- ChrisPurcell
It was down but it's been fixed.