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Perhaps you are looking for the MeatballMission.
Typically a wiki like any online community has a mission, a reason to exist. The mission may be explicitely written as a MissionStatement, it may exist unwritten in the head of the founder(s) or as an agreement between the contributors, or it may even be hidden intentionally behind some untrue official statement. So the WikiMission is not the same as a MissionStatement.
The wiki is different to other forms of community because of its is the enormous richness in possible applications and freedom to create content. If you walk on a path you will usually get to some sensible place where others have walked before. The path gives you a direction. A wiki without a mission statement is like a path without direction, like a desert without a compass.
Other communities are different. A chat community is its own mission, to get to know other people, to enjoy communication. You just need a reason to meet. -- A usenet forum must agree on a mission before it can be created. -- A corporation must create profit otherwise it has to close down. -- A non-profit corporation has to declare its targets before it may be founded. -- A married couple should make sure to have a common view of future life...
A mission defines expectations about which people will meet (TargetGroup), about what the people will do and about the directions the community will develop. The mission helps to establish collaboration and to Wiki:PrepareTheWay. In addition, the individual GoalStatement helps to understand each other and fine-tune the relationships and expectations.
Table of Contents
- 1. A Wiki's MissionStatement is a most important sign post.
- 1.1. Preamble:
- 1.2. Each Wiki's MissionStatement exerts a fundamental force.
1.3. Next steps:
- 1.2.1. Stated opinions:
- 18.104.22.168. "A wiki is first of all a creative work."
- 22.214.171.124. ...
- 1.3.1. Existing pages that express related perspectives
1. A Wiki's MissionStatement is a most important sign post.
There exists a considerable body of diverse opinions about what a "Wiki" is.
A few the main impressions I have formed during the last six months of participating in WardsWiki and Meatball include:
- There is a very strong technology component, generally evident in the choice of the WikiEngine, and the way the site is 'tweaked' by its developers, administrators, host(s), etc.
- There is an extrodinarily strong Community component that ideally generates co-operative contributions by the group's members towards an accepted Goal. Frequently, however, Wikis pit the views of Individual partcipants against each other, and they always need to balance the Rights of the Individual against those of the Community (the Group or TheCollective).
- Over time, the 'sustaining' members are the strongest of the forces that shape a Wiki by investing their time in creating and editing its content, as well as by being the exemplary 'leaders' within each specific Community.
Obviously, these forces act or resolve themselves in different ways at different times, making it quite difficult for a new-commer to fully understand the environment into which they are entering, especially given the fact that datestamps are not generally available, making it difficult to appreciate the current View or Style of a Wiki.
1.2. Each Wiki's MissionStatement exerts a fundamental force.
Significant sign posts exist that define what a wiki is. The MissionStatement is one that is most important since all Wikis direct new visitors to such a page. And Events frequently conspire to provide additional, clear direction. A specific example I was favoured to elicit while engaging in a series of posts triggered by an "Off Topic" discussion is...
1.2.1. Stated opinions:
126.96.36.199. "A wiki is first of all a creative work."
- "A wiki is first of all a creative work. A wiki solicits community to participate in that creation, but it does not exist to create community. Dividing the community into interest groups cannot improve the quality or integrity of the work."
This quote clearly states:
- what a wiki is,
- what it solicits of its community,
- what it does not exist to do, and the expressed conclusion that
- Dividing a community (into 'special interest' or 'focused' groups) cannot improve...
I plan to ponder the implications of this opinion during the rest of 2004, and would appreciate any other Opinions on this subject. Preliminary thoughts:
- The MeatballMission statement seems at odds with the preceding opinion, particularly in the context of the BarnRaising objective that is well recognized here.
- The statement that a "wiki does not exist to create community" seems to be internally inconsistent with the fact an 'open' wiki (in particular) invites contributions from its participants, all be it towards "a creative work". Given that contributions are both implicitly and explicitly invited, the obvious next step is that the contributions that are submitted need to be 'valued'. Surely their value will be (at least in part) a function of the trust that can be placed in the opinions of recognized contributors; a trust that grows with prolonged contact and familiarity, until it reaches the level of a recognized and respected member. In short, while Wikis that have a group of participants (community) do need a focus to guide their OffTopic deliberations, it seems obvious that they also do exist to build Communities.
1.3. Next steps:
1.3.1. Existing pages that express related perspectives
- Suggestions regarding pages that should review will be appreciated.
- Concurrently, I will try to craft an appropriate GoalStatement for myself since this (new, to me) suggestion makes quite a bit of sense. -- HansWobbe