This can lead to very strange effects, like a page written by an author linking to a page she had written years ago that disagrees with the new text (AuthorSwizzling), or even the author disagreeing with herself on the same page. Also, older text may have themes, perspectives, and styles that are alien or even counter to newer text. It also makes the corpus vulnerable to ContentSwizzling as pages linked to by older pages are reworked to reflect new thinking. For authors who sign their text, this can be very embarrassing as the necessary TemporalContext to disambiguate the history is missing. Even a full VersionHistory is not sufficient as it is not a good UserInterface to the context. While one solution to TimeInWikis is to use TimeStamps on posts, a better answer is to PostAnonymously.
One benefit of the WikiNow is that there is always more time. On a wiki, it may not matter whether you respond in an hour or a month. Two weeks is rarely important. Moreover, if you can't think of something to say, or if you forget to say something, someone in the future may say it. Conversations can last years, can be dropped by individuals, and can be picked up by others.That's not to say that being lazy is the way to go. Like anything, human attention spans are small. If nothing happens for a long period of time, people are likely to forget or stop caring. However, on a wiki, there is less pressure than on a WebLog to respond quickly. Taking time to consider your response is encouraged. No such thing as a FirstPost here.
It's interesting to see how on WikiWiki, the oldest wiki, of the 12000 pages there, most of the ones you will end up reading have been modified in the last year. Usually in the last three months. Spooky.
4970 pages on June 30, 1999 (earliest saved list) 5858 pages on October 25, 1999 8674 pages on April 13, 2000 9622 pages on May 27, 2000 12599 pages on October 14, 2000 (page deletion feature added in December, a few hundred pages deleted) 14071 pages on February 12, 2001 30966 pages on May 1, 2005 - and there's a lot of deleting happening
I've been using WardsWiki since 1997. Now, in 2001, it can be like having a conversation with myself of 4 years ago. A 2-way conversation - I can read what he said, and I can reply.
I'd be very disturbed if he replied back, though.
The WikiNow would be more prominent without "This page was last edited on..." on each page. That text is also deceptive, as it is no real indication of when any of the content on the page was put in place (WikiSpam...).
To me, the last edited date is not about when the content was put in place, but when there was last life on the page. Hiding living processes is a great way to end living processes, but I don't think that is our goal. The last edited date may be the wrong indicator of life, but having no indicator is kind of depressing in a way. This leads us to the question: What are more honest ways of expressing life? -- SunirShah
With WhoIsOnline, we only have to display readers with UserNames, and then anonymous (N) where N is the number of anonymous readers. Re: who is watching us, I mentioned a full AuditTrail for readership for MeatballWiki in 2000 , but Cliff thought there were (legal) privacy issues to be cogniscent of, not to mention ethical ones. I don't have more details. -- SunirShah
"... A wiki exists in a perpetual state of nowness ..."
I don't believe this is true (although this may be a common saying). To agree on its truth, one would have to agree on what a wiki really is. According to Ward Cunningham a wiki is following the Wiki:WikiDesignPrinciples. There is no mention of WikiNow but of "Wiki is observable": a user must be able to see what has changed, at least for some time. This is a very real need. Basically this results in rc, diff and page history. In our reality there is much more a WebNow? than a WikiNow. WikiNow is not compatible with observability, so I would argue that WikiNow is an idialization of early wiki implementation deficiencies. So why not just forget about it? -- HelmutLeitner
I don't agree with Ward's definition of a wiki. The idea of the WikiNow is that all conversations are current, no matter at what time they are read. This means two things: as a writer, that readers five years in the future will look upon what you write with currentness; and that as a reader, what was written five years ago is still prime for continued discussion. -- SunirShah
Refactor stale pages. Delete cruft. What you describe is a failure to understand the WikiNow. All pages should be written in such a way they make sense to a reader five years from now. That doesn't mean written Platonically, but simply that if there is material that has TemporalContext, make that clear. However, most of the time (around here), there is no temporal context that matters, so keep your written free of temporal dependencies. -- SunirShah
Many pages on MeatballWiki are written without temporal context, so I disagree with empirical proof. If people AvoidConflict on the wiki you have in mind, then they have social issues that are far more intense than the ability to write in the WikiNow. There is a reason why we have spent so much energy learning about ConflictResolution. Frankly, I don't think there is any value in understanding how the egoful wikis break down. There so many things more wrong on wikis with too much ego than writing style, that it is pointless to even use a wiki, as you are suggesting here. It's better to focus on the positive, on keeping wikis functional. -- SunirShah
MeatballWiki does not store history. MeatBall:RecentChanges is not MeatballWiki. Current discussions aren't the important texts. We rarely refer back to ThreadMode. We aim to work in a style that tries to remain free of ContextSwizzling. We do this, perhaps, because as computer scientists first, we understand the need to be loosely coupled. 'Egoless' editing and the WikiNow are the same problem. The ideal is that what you write is detached from all things, time, context, and AttachedEgo. When text is in that state, it is free to be edited by others. -- SunirShah
This intention may be good, but the arguments aren't: (1) there are a number of wiki engines providing complete page histories (2) WhyClublet has an almost perfect user interface for this. (3) isn't "must be intelligible" true for any substancial writing to an audience? -- The message of WikiNow seems to be "you needn't be interested when this was written". This is grandmothering and as reader I don't want to be told that. In some situations I don't care about certain information, in other situations it is vital and I will use it.
Referring to what Sunir and Chuck said about ego, I think it's interesting that not a single page about the ego topic exists (here). Many seem to assume that a thread or a signatur is a sign for egoful writing. I do not agree with that. An EditWar is often egoful, although it often keeps the form of a document and may be unsigned. Anonymous contributions are often extremly egoful. This thread, although I started it with a controversial statement, doesn't seem egoful. We are seeking something together and "to be right" doesn't seem to dominate that. We have a nice rhythm, like players warming up in a cirle passing a ball. -- HelmutLeitner
We aim to be clear, explanatory, and helpful; not pretentious. But I don't think the description above states anything except the actual phenomena experienced. If anyone would like to make improvements, it's better to write something concrete (even edit the headword) and we can talk about it. This is a wiki, not a blog. -- SunirShah
A wiki with a complete version history includes all the advantages of the WikiNow but adds some new ones to make it more appropriate for integrating an income model for its wikizens in the sense of CreateAndShareWealth, which currently (what is that without a TimeStamp :-) is focussed on OpenBusiness and ExtremeOpenBusiness. -- FridemarPache
Well let's exit this comment mode. The EternalNow? as I like to think of it is the EdgeOfCreation? which is the timespace where every action is conducted to cause every future and every change. This is where culture, technology and great ideas are formed. If we call this the WikiNow it could only exist for an individual during the process of interaction and creation on this wiki. The server, the wiki memories as a whole and the recent changes are not WikiNow in this sense. The other kind of WikiNow I see discussed here is the idea everything on the wiki is current as if said in the EternalNow?. I think this concept leads to far better collaboration because it lets many of us create together but ignores temporarily in our language (especially in replying to each other) and also ignores the temporal reality of the text (eg spam, pages that are ignored).