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I am trying to build a community on the PowWowWiki, also implemented as a UseModWiki. I have realized that I may spend quite some time just adding my own content, and if that is all it ever turns out to be, so be it. Still, community makes some really cool things happen.
Many of the people I have invited to my Wiki are RegularPeople -- not especially technical or even very adept at computer use. Typically, they are AmericaOnlineUsers?, so they are used to having everything put right in front of them as big, happy, blue buttons. Which begins to get me to my point...
What I am pondering is this:
- How can a Wiki be engineered to be more intuitive for RegularPeople?
- What can be done to make people more comfortable with the idea of adding or changing content?
- Is it just a case of people feeling shy about having anything to say?
- Do RegularPeople even consider spending time adding content to a HyperText database?
- What could the KillerApp? be that brings Wiki to the masses?
- What psyhological/sociological/psuedo-spritual aspects of human behavior could be contemplated in regard to these issues?
I interpret "big, happy, blue buttons" as lots of graphics, less spartan than this wiki, for example. Did you take a look at AnimeFu? It has lots of graphics, a navigation bar on the left, colors... -- AlexSchroeder
- Arrrgh, this is not a problem of colorful buttons.
- I've spruced UseModWiki up quite a bit with CSS on UnrealWiki (check UseMod for URL & the patches I've applied). However, the fact that Wiki doesn't have BigBlueButtons? (sorry, that's just crying to be a wiki link...), is often stated as one of the reasons WhyWikiWorks. -- Tarquin
I know some problems of RegularPeople:
- RegularPeople are not used to speaking to a large and unknown audience. They have to experience that this audience is not that large and not that unknown.
- RegularPeople feel vulnerable if they write something that anyone can change, delete or attack. They have to experience that there is a (wiki) community protecting them.
- RegularPeople feel vulnerable if they give away their real name, email address or other personal information. They have to experience that this doesn't create problems and that this is necessary for fruitful communication.
It is our responsibility as community builders to provide for these experiences.
- RegularPeople don't have all that much to say, they're not very smart, and they don't read well. Wiki's interactivity doesn't add much value, and the markup language language is too difficult. And linking! Linking requires remembering the name of something that is not immediately present, which is beyond the ability of a RegularPerson. To a RegularPerson, a Wiki is just a bunch of web pages that all look alike, and he will judge them by their content, not by the design of the underlying system. So if you want RegularPeople to frequent your Wiki, serve up some content that RegularPeople will view. And I don't mean long-winded discussions on the nature of online community, I mean pictures.
- man, that's pessimistic.
another possibility is that people are more comfortable posting a comment than editing some else's web page. if this is the case, EasySubmission would help.
see also MakeWikiMoreAccessible, WikiIsMissingTheUserConcept, WikiCommunityBuilding
-- I think, that the point is here WhatDoRegularPeopleWant?? I consider myself very regular, however I am college educated, computer saavy, but not overly technical. Is that the demographic we are looking for? Or are we looking for non-technical, unsaavy users on AOL that can barely operate their own windows machines? If that is the case I think you need to start with the saavy, educated non-techs and work from there. Then the question becomes
- What CONTENT should be linked here!?
- ComputerResources? for the average person
what category is this page? CategorySocialEngineering?? CategoryWikiBuilding?? CategoryWikiConventions?