Will et al.--

A wiki can be extraordinarily valuable in many technical communities. It can 
speed up interaction among developers and the tech writers and cut down on the 
pre-release review cycles.

One caveat, I think, is that the wiki needs to be in the control of the docs 
department. Some developers will attempt to rewrite material rather than 
comment upon it--and the result if left unfettered can be chaotic.

However, it is common for wiki software to archive prior versions--allowing the 
owner of the wiki to restore prior content if need be.

What wikis do not do well is allow the sort of layout flexibility we are 
accustomed to in Frame. That may not be a particularly serious matter for many, 
though, as increasing numbers of firms are making the wiki accessible on the 
Internet to customers.

As for "doing your job for you"--too often, that attitude leads to a choke 
point--a single point of failure--in getting accurate and timely deliveries out 
the door.


From: Whites <whitefam...@mac.com>
Subject: Re: OT: Tech Writers & Wikis
To: Diane Gaskill <dgcaller at earthlink.net>
Cc: Framers <framers at frameusers.com>

I've been asked before what I thought about wikis in a software  
documentation environment. I suspect that the only reason  
Anarchipedia works at all is because there exists a large population  
of educated types who are willing to contribute and who are able to  
do so because they are writing their entries on someone else's  
nickel. Probably university souls who would otherwise be preparing  
lectures or grading some of the few papers that students still claim  
to write. Or maybe they are just avoiding their tedious chores.

I'm dubious that folks in most development environments have the  
leisure to dawdle around in a wiki when they have their own workloads  
to get through. Or am I misunderstanding the charm of a wiki? It  
sounds like a mechanism to convince other people to do my work.

will white

On Mar 18, 2007, at 5:51 PM, Diane Gaskill wrote:

> I am writing a white paper for my class, and I'm searching for writers
> that use wikis.

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