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The goals, mission and style statements and other boundary conditions of an online community implicitly define a TargetGroup. When you found a wiki you can create the regulations first to fit some interests and construct the community around a topic. On the other hand you can also first decide about the target group, construct the wiki "for people" and then select the regulations to fit the interests of the target group as good as possible.

You can also put more than one topic or more than one target group into a wiki, but this will present problems, because only a small number of users will fit to the optimum intersection of the topic or target group sets. All other users will be forces to work through a lot of what is "noise" to them.

An example: DseWiki was founded for software developers and also for wiki topics. But people were typically only interested in software (95%) and always drew back when I started to write about wiki and community topics. The felt uneasy because the interests of the founder and theirs obviously didn't overlap. Nowadays I only react to community topics (like you would in any community) but do not start them on my own. DseWiki may now be seen as a pure "for software developers" community. -- HelmutLeitner

Typical questions related to the target group:

Advantages and disadvantages of "for topic":

Advantages and disadvantages of "for people":

Side problems:


This may not be the appropriate topic for this question, but I think so. Move this thread if there is a more appropriate place.

In the case of a TargetGroup, what are the best practices when trying to cover a broad spectrum of education levels on a given topic? For examples, on [Composer Planet] some contributors write at a very high level, while others are more chummy and layman oriented. Inevitably these threads and even some DocumentMode pages get sprinkled with both styles. Is this a case where skillful refactoring is the best way? I almost want to order the information from light to heavy and let the reader decide when they want to "jump ship" and move on to the next page. It might be as simple as just categorizing sections as "beginner", "intermediate" etc. Is there an IndexingScheme that addresses this? --LukeStark

What problems does the mix of styles cause? Do you worry that people will be put off by writing that is at too low or too high a level for them, and decide the wiki isn't for the likes of them? Another possible concern would be that a mix of styles can be quite jarring to read - after all, that's why we have things like the StyleGuide.

One option is a DramaticIdentity for certain flavours of writing that may not be to everyone's taste. For example, on a page that was mostly "low", with one "high" contribution, we might have notice that the repeating bass sections in 'Milkshake' are mirrored by repeating vocals, but at a different tempo and pitch. This gives the song a structured feel, which provides a contrast for the informal tone of the lyrics and dancing. See AllegroNauticalia for other songs which use this trick. --MusicTheorist?

--MartinHarper

Luke's question is an interesting one. His wiki is unique in wikidom for the broad difference in background among community members. Such is the nature of making music. For example, I sing in a choir where some members cannot read music. They're strong singers and we sing close four-part harmony anyway, it just takes some extra time because the nonreaders have to learn their part by rote. Yet Luke has managed to draw some well-known, talented people to his site whose knowledge of music reflects years of formal study.

It's rather like having a bunch of career C++ people sitting around talking to someone whose idea of "software development" involves using macros in Excel.

--Steve


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