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Story moved to BearAndDragon. It seemed like this page became more about the messages than the story....

... so let me introduce myself. I am a writer/editor for a museum Web site and am here to learn how these wiki things work. I do a lot with education, and there has been talk in educational realms about using wikis. So I feel like I should understand. When I am not at work, I like to sew, do crafty things, reavel, write, read, walk on my hands and go to yoga. I have become very interested recently in creating collaboratively. From quilting bees to exquisite corpses. CollaborativeStoryWriting fascinates me and also seems so elusive. How to do this technically? How to get inside someone else's head? So when I saw this wiki thing, it seemed a perfect solution. -- SusanEdwards

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TextFormattingRules WikiSchool?

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Hello Susan, welcome to MeatballWiki. Looks like you've been learning how to use the wiki, and seem fairly interested in how it works, and the creative potential of it. I'm just a newbie myself, and may be being bold conducting a WelcomeRitual? here, as I am not a frequent contributer (but a frequent reader) of MeatballWiki.

I just thought I'd share some insights into the BehavioralNorms of this wiki which help make things run smoothly. Normally, people's HomePages or FrontLawns are used to [DenoteAuthor]. You sign your contributions, as you did on a page about WardCunningham. Then people click your name and will be able to learn more about yourself. You might list information about your background, links to your other sites, and affiliations; more experienced contributers here might list their 'goals' for participation on MeatballWiki. You can skim over 400 [home pages here]. What you put on your page helps build your repuation here in this space.

Generally, contributions are kept on topic, as discussed in MeatballMission. Tangential creative pages might be seen as [WikiSquatting]... and I'm sure that was not your intention. I don't mean to offend, but give you an opportunity: You might want to try setting up a wiki of your own, and experimenting with collaborative writing. If you want some help finding creative writing wiki, you might check out http://kairosnews.org/ and ask around there. If I notice anything, I'll pass it along.

Best of luck to you, hope to see you around. -- HeatherJames

Hi Susan. Welcome. It's Meatball here, right. And as it's Meatball I wonder "What is this strange courageness we all feel in wiki?" We all identify with the bear in a way I guess. We're not familiar in it, the forest is new to us and strangely it is just this easy "Hey I'm new here, can you show me how? that makes it work and it works. All here experienced that I think. Another thing I wonder: The dragon? Is it Wikipedia? Tot ziens. -- MattisManzel

I am confused. I am a Web professional trying to understand the Wiki and I am not sure I get it. I just poked around and saw this as a wonderful tool for collaborative thinking. It's something we're trying to experiment with here at my workplace and so I decided to try it out. But it seems like there are a lot of mysterious social rules here that one has to learn. I feel like I just walked into a Masonic Temple and don't know the secret handshake. So one question....why can't my page about me be a story? And where is there a list of the code you need to add things like links and formatting? HTML doesn't seem to work here...SusanEdwards

To give you an analogy, a wiki is like a room. When you walk into a room, there are no social rules embedded in the walls, but they are embedded in the social relationships of the people in the room. Some rooms we are already familiar with, such as walking into a museum or a dentist office, but we still have learnt the rules. Often we can learn the rules by mimickry (such as being quiet in a museum, sitting down in a dentist office), but for particularly active groups of people in a room, sometimes it's best to introduce yourself and try to get a sense of what the people in that room are doing. For instance, walking into a yoga class for the first time requires some accustomization and enculturization, even if the gym floor is open to the public.

It's not that you can't use your namepage for a story, it's like walking into the yoga class to start doing aerobics. It's something you can do on the gym floor, but the space is being used for a yoga class. It would be very odd. But in our case, we're a little less structured than a yoga class in some respects, so if you introduce yourself, we'd be happy to help you build your story in a more effective way. -- SunirShah

TextFormattingRules will help you Susan.

Thanks for the text formatting rules. Very helpful. I understand Sunir's analogy, but am not exactly clear how it translates. So let me introduce myself... [introduction moved to top of page]. SusanEdwards

It is, Susan. It's not writing on paper or hard disks. It's writing directly on people conciousness. And they write on yours. Wiki is a pretty big collaborative story. One. The one. -- MattisManzel

Susan, we had an earlier experiment here called the WikiStory that never gained traction. To be honest, I have repeatedly seen these experiments fail, and I think that's because none of them really understood the wiki model.

Yeah, maybe that's telling you something :* I am very involved in and concerned with usability because I create content for the Web. As far sa I can see wikis are not so big on transparent usabillity. It's like a clique--back to my Masonic Temple analogy. If you want more people to be involved (maybe you don't), you need to work on that. SusanEdwards

It's not a clique necessarily; it's more like a community, which can be a clique, but not always. A clique excludes people they do not know prima facie, whereas what we try to do here on MeatballWiki is build PersonalRelationships to everyone that crosses our transom. This is important because the wiki is a common space we all share, unlike GeoCities? which is individual homesteads. Since on a wiki you can write on anything, we have to work together or else we'll interfere with each other. So we have a BarnRaising metaphor, which is a powerfully rich metaphor. In your case, you want to build a story "barn" (work with me here), so we're happy to help you do that. If you trust us a little, you probably won't regret it. We have learnt a few things after all these years. -- SunirShah


If you'd like to discuss the notion of CollaborativeStory?telling, that would be very interesting. I think half the problem with WikiStory was that it was a very one-way story; a story that was written from one author's perspective without creating the room for other people to chime in with their contributions. After all, there was no plot structure or character descriptions at the meta-level that were up for discussion, but rather that was all in the primary author's head. Further, as a story, it was very linear, which is not something that fits with the wiki model.

I suspect that a true WikiStory would become a hyperstory with multiple contradictions and inconsistencies. If you consider for instance how a murder mystery role playing evening goes, each person is merely given a one paragraph description of who they are, and then the story unfolds as people act out their characters. I suspect a similar story structure for a collaborative story.

I'm interested that you are working on a museum website. A group here at the University of Toronto are trying to do some participatory design with one of the student run museums, and it is a mindblowing experience. Maybe that's somethign we can talk about in the future after I explain ParticipatoryDesign. -- SunirShah

I like your thoughts about story-writing on a wiki! I think you're right. This seems like a place where one must release control. Authors find that hard to do. I would love to discuss the hyperstory possibilities. Why is the participatory design projecy "mind blowing"? In a good way? I imagine there is a steep learning curve there for the sudents. I'd love to discuss... Museums are still figuring out exactly how to best leverage the Web. They are so steeped in the physical--the objects, the actual building, the physical community they are in--that it is hard for them to make the leap into the virtual. SusanEdwards

The last try I remember is OliverGassner doing http://www.carpe.com/wiki/wiki.pl?GeschichtenWald (it's in German). I came to know this, because they had a server breakdown and used our B├╝cherWiki: http://www.wikiservice.at/buecher/wiki.cgi?GeschichtenWald (this was created within 1-2 hours, I've transfered it into a page branch). I think that to do this efficiently, you need subspaces for the stories. WikiFractality does this nicely, normal wikis will create a mess. There are some people who are very interested in using wikis for educational purposes (WikiSchool? is a starter) and ChristopheDucamp (France and Belgium) and me are constantly connecting people to create critical mass. AndresStreiff and BeatDoebeli are very active in Switzerland. FreeWikisForSchools. -- HelmutLeitner

I just found this article on Slate: Art Mobs: Can an online crowd create a poem, a novel, or a painting? http://slate.msn.com/id/2104087/

Thank You! for the WikiSchool? info! SusanEdwards

Story move to BearAndDragon.

Susan -- I have similar interests to you concerning collaborative fiction. I have set up two wikis to explore the topic, and have some small support from a few academics in the quest to set up a collaborative fiction wiki. My wikis are WriteHere and SoLaSI (The Society of Lies and Stolen Ideas). WriteHere is a space for people to contribute creative texts and discuss them informally. SoLaSI is a space for theoretical discussions about fiction, creative texts, wiki, and how they all intersect. Both wikis are very new and could use thoughtful contributors, so please by all means come check them out. -- MattBowen


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