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Wikis have special ways to structure information that makes wiki differ from other information formats like books, newspapers, articles, or blogs, even websites. Probably this is caused by the way wikis are used and how they develop and grow. The main hypothesis of this page is that there is a correspondence with LEVELS OF SCALE that ChristopherAlexander lists as one of 15 fundamental properties of living systems. If that is true, then a proper understanding of WikiInformationScaling might improve the growth process of wikis and maybe shed additional light on successful real world information structures.
Hypothesis: Many wiki phenomena can be described as paired items A and B that correspond in meaning and that have useful geometrical proportions.
- WikiProject, A = wiki name and idea, B = wiki content and community
- MissionStatement, A = mission, B = wiki process, bridges the gap between a wiki name and its content, when the difference is too large and need explanations
- RoadMap, A = topic and roadmap page, B = a group of pages, made accessible by the RoadMap
- ConsistentPage?, A = page name, B = page content, the pagename should correspond to the content, the page should be neither too small (ShallowPage) nor too large (probably containing ideas that do not correspond to the page name
- IntroducedPage?, A = first paragraph of the page, B = rest of the page, makes sense when the page name isn't self-explanatory
- ConsistentChapter?, A = chapter header, B = the chapter body
- IntroducedParagraph?, A = first words or sentence, B = paragraph, elaboration of one idea
- CommentedEntry?, A = header (often a page name or URL), B = rest of the line (a short explanation, a sentence or two)
- HomePage, A = homepage, B = the person, the homepage exists to create access to the individual, to make understanding, communication, cooperations and relationships easier
- Time is precious. Readers want to know what they will get before they start reading. Page names should correspond to their content. Introductions often help.
- Expectations and trust. Readers read because they expect something, maybe something interesting, maybe an answer to a question. It seems a matter of building trust between the author and the reader: to tell what one can expect and fill the promise.
- Redundancy. A and B can't or shouldn't be identical, because redundancy doesn't make sense. One type of ShallowPage is a page that doesn't tell us more than its name.
- Proportions. Often, in looking at the proportions of text, there is a spacial feeling of "right size" or "not the right size". According to CA this feeling can be expected to be shared by a large majority.
- GimmeFive -- give enough to make a start towards some living piece of information