[Home]PagenamesAreAbbreviations

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At MeatballWiki (here in this community) the majority of contributors agree that AbbreviationsAreEvil (abbreviations should not be used). The argument in short: abbreviations form a kind of jargon - an insider language - that many occasional readers or visitors won't understand. But the common goal is to be clear and to be understood. So we avoid even simple abbreviations like BTW (by the way) or ROTFL (rolling on the floor, laughing = this is really funny) or TBC (to be continued = I will soon continue to work on this text) to increase the clarity of the wiki content.

But at the same time we love to use WikiWords (the names of wiki pages) in our texts as abbreviations. These pagenames are the essence of our thoughts forming a local language. We are proud of these abstractions and reuse them all the time. For example: BarnRaising is at core of MeatballWiki culture. But these abbreviations mean nothing to visitors and they need commitment and time to be understood. Especially if we combine a number of pagesnames within an argument - and we love to -, we make it hard for our communication partners to grasp what we mean, to cope with the information we give, to counter the arguments that gain the volume of many related pages and the weight of months of discussions.

This is a paradoxon that we have to cope with. Wiki pages hold the essence of what has been accomplished and thought through. And at the same time, the references to these pages separate us. They separate us from the readers which we would like to touch. They separate us from the visitors which we would like to become peers and members of our communities. When we use these pagenames in our arguments they become like powerful symbols, sometimes even like weapons (for example: DeletedPage), that make a difference between us and them. The difference is inevitable - because it is a symptom of the content value - and a hinderance to further development of the community at the same time.

I would like to suggest a pragmatic solution to the problem. We could try to build more communication elements (sentences, paragraphs, arguments, pages, ...) that can be understood on their own, without reading and understanding referenced pages. The pagenames should be given to provide additional information, but they should not be the cornerstones of our sentences and arguments. This will produce more redundancy in our texts, but it will make the messages clearer. It will make communications more personal and more humane. It will reduce the distance to people outside of the community and help them to join. Which is still a primary goal of each and every wiki. -- HelmutLeitner


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