(not in strict order...)
The above may be contrasted with Toynbee's lifecycle for civilizations.
In addition to the above typical sequence of stages, there are various events that may or may not happen, and may occur at different times for different wiki's. GreatChallengesToWikis are things that influence the path a wiki takes in the WikiLifeCycle, either causing a divergent path to be taken or advancing/reversing progress through various stages.
regarding Wiki:CommunityLifeCycle: it is rather general and not particularly helpful to someone looking to build a wiki community, lacking specifics. I'm thinking of more detail specific to wikis, like for instance SunirShah's comment somewhere where the early days were mostly just him creating documents ... if that is a common beginning process, would it be good to guide the expectations of a budding wiki builder?
On which wikis can this lifecycle be observed? Please list:
For MeatballWiki, I've decided to go out of my way to not measure my self-importance by page hits. This seems to be quite a break from most site operators. I've had many arguments that ultimately came down to the fact that the other party was really interested in making "the most popular thing on the planet" whereas I was interested in making "something interesting and useful." I think popularity is actually quite unfun. Of course, I'd also like to be "well known", though I try to keep away the firebugs by making this place too pedestrian to burn down. -- SunirShah
I think that when you hit CommunityMayNotScale, you should split the community into separate Wikis dedicated to each unique area of interest (EnlargeSpace). That way, the Wiki:ExtremeProgramming members didn't need to kill the Wiki:PatternCommunity ;-> -- JeffGrigg?
Some examples of this is on WikiEmigration.
I sense there are two forms of exodus in the WikiLifeCycle - documented at WikiEmigration is the splintering form, but there is also the mass exodus of abandonment, which would have happened at MetaBaby (for example). These are two different forms of exodus, one is healthy growth, one is not so healthy ... is there a name for this?
Something could be said about how transition from one stage to the next (or previous) is not necessarily a gradual thing ... sometimes it seems a community is stuck at one stage, nothing much changing, and then *bang* TheTippingPoint is reached and everything changes in a rush.
[Somewhere I saw a reference to a cycle of rapid evolution followed by long periods of stability ... someone please fill me in to the missing reference. cf. ParadigmShift ... which leads to Wiki:PunctuatedEquilibrium and Google:Punctuated+Equilibrium, and then http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/PUNCTUEQ.html]
The importance of this observation is that as a community building it is sometimes prudent to be preparing for change even though not much is happening. Start working on stuff behind the scenes, in preparation for the big day when everything happens fast.
Looking at this ordered sequence, I think it's good that CrossingTheTippingPoint is in bold text, because this and everything below it is all quite negative and depressing. It seems we have accumulated a greater weight of information about the different ways that wikis communities can fail. This serves as a warning to anyone who thinks their community can only get better, but can't we be more cheerful? Are there any more positive ideas for ways of keeping a community alive and well. Positive steps which could be inserted after MetcalfesLaw for example.
I suppose the problem is that this list makes it look like there is an enevitable progression through these stages, whereas in reality we see cycles, or as someone else was saying, 'PunctuatedEquilibrium?'. (At least for smaller communities which didn't really hit the MetcalfesLaw stage) . -- HarryWood - 29th March 2005
At least we're not as bad as weblogs.
yet it all seems so [familiar]
Forgive me from quoting:
I was looking through OLD email and I found this in something I wrote about WikiPedia in 2004 as we were grappling with using voting for decisionmaking: "So I am still ruminating about what I think is the best way for Wikipedia to function, because it is difficult to pin down *only one way* -- or even two or three that Wikipedia approaches decisions and conflicts, and therefore come to a conclusion about the best way to decide things. It seems that people prefer to have rules -- or at least to have guidelines -- to decide what is acceptable and unacceptable (I do as well). However, this is a positive feedback loop for those people (who will make more and more rules), and but will also drive away people with other focuses or personality types in a negative feedback loop (see <http://meta.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_leverage_points/>). But as the project continues to increase in size and scope, and as more types of people join, it is not as clear what is the best way to proceed.
Primarily, I think that we need to think about the concept of voting and how it affects group processes. Wikipedia is an unusual hybrid of Wiki, NPOV, *and* altruistic self-interest (i.e., we all get some satisfaction from what we do here, but we also do it for the good of the project/community/world). I also think we need to look at how our decision-making processes affect how much we are open or closed -- we can be "open" to everybody, but if only one type of person can handle being a contributor or editor, what does that really mean for us."