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Why I have/haven’t created or modified a wiki…

Since the use of wikis became publically known in SDN/BPX late in 2006, there has been a concerted effort by the owners of the environment to get forum members to make use of the capability.  Unfortunately, it looks like there is still a tendency to either post questions in forums or blog in the blog arena.  This blog is trying to capture some of the reasons for the lack of acceptance of working with wikis within the community, and I thought that getting reasons for using it and/or not using it may be informative.  I think that the fact that I am making a blog of this is indicative of the problem! If I wanted to get the same results by posting to a forum, I would need to work out which forum(s), and it would quickly be hidden by the regular traffic in the forum. I also suspect that many members of the community only watch their topic areas.  The wiki format doesn’t lend itself to a question/answer style along these lines – which is why the push is more to the FAQ style of content. In the portal wiki I started a FUQ (Frequently Unanswered Questions) to get a list of topics that people think would be handy for wiki content to be created about, but the result has been less than spectacular.  As an extra question, how many people regularly click on the Wiki link at the top of the page to see what’s new?  Do you think that the lack of detailed information about wiki in he link in the header area labelled “How to contribute” is an issue?  Incidentally, please don’t mention the issue of wiki and points! It has been covered in some of the forums to some depth, for those who would like to get the gory details….  I know that there are people like Marilyn and others who are certainly keen to make use of the wiki area, and this blog is not meant to pre-empt any thing they are trying to do.
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    • Feedback noted, Blag.

      For historical purposes, I though that to make sure I got the best feedback I originally had the blog in the “SDN” and “BPX” topics.


      • All the same isn’t it 😉

        You can leave it as “SDN” and “BPX” of course as well, the “ranting” is just a heads up to anyone NOT wanting to read something not topic related to technology or theory just as the “Beginner” ones are reminders for the experts to move on to the next item 🙂

  • Here are some theories from a casual SDN User:

    1.  The WIKI is good for general information but it lacks in depth technical detail.  (This is a circular argument though because if people were using the WIKI there would be better content)
    2.  The discussion forums are very “successful”.  You can get answers within seconds and people are more than willing to answer the same question over and over.
    3.  As long as it is so easy to post blogs and use the discussion forums it will take a lot of convincing to the community that the WIKI is beneficial.
    4.  And just to get philosophical, what are the interests of the SDN/BPX members?  What is the makeup of our community?  SAP, Customers, Consultants, Partners etc.  Each of these groups has different interests.  Is everyone truly interested in collaboration? The WIKI tool will only be successful if the shared interest of everyone is collaboration.

    Just a couple of thoughts to continue the discussion.

    Chris H.

    • Excellent points and ones we struggle with – does the community want to collaborate? This question is what keeps me awake at night when I think of the community on SDN…
    • Chris wrote: “The WIKI tool will only be successful if the shared interest of everyone is collaboration.”
      I’m not sure that every community member of SDN/BPX approaches collaboration and finds benefits in exactly the same way and with the same tool.  There are also technical limitations to each modality.  You can’t, for example, change my blog, but you can change a wiki page I created to improve, expand, clarify.  In fact, it’s easier to do that with a wiki post than to go back and change your own blog contents. 
      Back to your use of the word collaboration. I’m thinking of the multiple ways of contributing, collaborating, participating in our communities.  Perhaps even “lurkers” collaborate in a manner of speaking (as an audience, even a passive one, has importance as well)?
      A blog according to wikipedia and other sources: “is a vehicle for communication that is authored, is usually opinion and represents a personality.  Often there is little editing interference on the part of the style.”
      A Wiki, on the other hand, is generally considered collaborative and collective editing in any of the references I read out there.
      “A website or similar online resource which allows users to add and edit content collectively.”

      Folks here seek pieces of information to help themselves and others.  That help can be found in blogs, forum threads, and articles, as well as wikis.
      Ultimately, the community decides what these are for them and how they are best used by them.

      My opinion, of course, but each of these modalities should be used as the contributor sees fit and as fits their learning and mentoring needs.
      It’s like learning preferences: some are visual, some audio, some structured, some non-linear
      I don’t’ think it healthy to say: you must use this tool for only this type of communication.  Whose to judge that your question or comment isn’t my learning or a very helpful tutorial for me?

      • Marilyn wrote: “Ultimately, the community decides what these are for them and how they are best used by them.”

        So if as this blog has suggested that there is a problem with updating the WIKI, does that mean the community has voted with silence?

        And if the community has voted with silence, what would it take to change their minds?


        • I think that as with any new tool…The WIKI needs to wait a little bit more…People must learn how to use it, how to gather information from it and to contribute with it.

          Blogs are a great source of information, but not all people make comments on them…Forums are a great tool too, but people asks the same question once and again.

          The WIKI is a place where you can find information and add value to it if you can. People just need to be aware of that -:)



          • Hi Blag

            One of the things I find difficult with the wiki environment is getting a list of new and changed wikis. Maybe I don’t understand how to watch wikis properly – the envelope icon looks very similar opened or closed and the only way I can tell is by having a look at the URL in the status bar!

            Anyway, even if I have set a watch, I don’t think I can do this recursively. For example, if I’m interested in wikis related to portal, then I can watch one or two wikis easily, but if someone starts creating children (breeding?), then I have to know this and then watch those wikis as well…

            Maybe someone has a simple solution for me?


  • After reading this blog, I went and added a page with some FAQ (page add on business intellgence–learning page), saved it. And I can’t find it anywhere.

    I am not a wiki user, and with this experience I will stick to forums/blogs.


  • I really haven’t caught on to the Wiki.  I don’t really know how to use it.  Navigation feels unrefined/primitive.  Plus, there is not much information there.  This makes me believe not many people are using it, therefore my
    question(s) will not be answered by going here.
    • Fire away with questions if you have them, as for the content not being there – one trick is to start a page where you need info and then wait for others to fill it in.

      Also don’t forget to hit the “My Home” in the top left of the Wiki area then you will notice there area ton of sections with lots of data present.


  • Okay, I’ve stolen Marilyn’s pun from another thread there, but it works for me… 

    The dialogue in this thread goes directly to something alot of us are struggling with here at SDN – how to create the richest, most diverse, and most collaborative information environment for SDN members that we possibly can. 

    I personally would like to see one that acknowledges the strengths and weaknesses of all our modalities: forums, blogs, the wiki, search, knowledge centers, and more.  One that brings all the resources of the SAP ecosystem to the surface, including stuff not now currently in, or necessarily even appropriate for, the wiki (whatever that might mean – and I invite your suggestions). 

    To my mind, the best approach is a blended approach that uses the strengths of one modality to compensate for the weaknesses of another.  But ultimately it’s the contributor’s choice which modality they use, and viva la difference…

    Scott J.

  • IMO the differences between forums, blogs and wikis and their varying features and benefits are not great enough to justify all three. There is already such a proliferation of differing sources that finding information you want is difficult enough as is.

    I have no problem with people having choices, but with information so dispersed it does make the chance of missing out on useful contributions that much higher. We don’t all have time to trawl through multiple forms of discussion.

    Does that matter? Well, it does if the aim of these differing media is all the same i.e. to give professionals the opportunity to exchange and gather useful information.