(Things to think about) Before you pick a wiki


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Is your company moving documentation to a wiki? What process and policy issues should you consider (preferably) before selecting a wiki for documentation? If the choice of a wiki has already been made for you, learn to manage expectations and produce the best outcome for your situation.

Presentation by Janet Swisher at Technical Communication Summit, May 2011

Published in: Business
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  • Everything you know about content management applies to wikis, too.A wiki is a CMS with specific choices for the core elements.
  • Tech writer jobs are not at risk, because users are unlikely to take over content production.Don’t consider a wiki to be a failure if the participation level is low.
  • Connect the two columns in the way that makes sense for your business.
  • If you have more than one level of review, you don’t really have a wiki. You have a CMS with a web-based editor.
  • Users have to give you the right to use what they right.
  • (Things to think about) Before you pick a wiki

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    2. 2. Policy and Process Considerations for Collaborative Authoring Environments<br />Janet Swisher<br />Mozilla<br />Session hashtag: #boring<br />
    3. 3. (Things to Think About)Before You Pick a Wiki<br />Janet Swisher, @jmswisher<br />Mozilla<br />Session hashtag: #b4wiki<br />
    4. 4. Baseline assumptions<br /><ul><li>A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor. —Wikipedia
    5. 5. Most wikis are not like Wikipedia</li></li></ul><li>Why use a wiki?<br />Internal<br /><ul><li>Workgroup coordination
    6. 6. Knowledge capture
    7. 7. Project management
    8. 8. Strategic planning</li></ul>External<br /><ul><li>Customer knowledgebase
    9. 9. Product documentation</li></li></ul><li>Our scenario<br />Your organization is considering or has decided to move some customer-facing information (documentation or knowledgebase) to a wiki.<br />
    10. 10. Photo by kennatakahashi<br />
    11. 11. Photo by Nate Steiner<br />
    12. 12. Photo by Jim Linwood<br />
    13. 13. A wiki is just a (kind of) CMS<br /><ul><li>Authoring environment
    14. 14. Content repository
    15. 15. Delivery platform</li></ul>Ann Rockley, Managing Enterprise Content, p. 312<br />
    16. 16. 10 Questions to ask before startingfrom WIKI: Grow your own for fun and profit, Alan Porter<br /><ul><li>What business issue will the wiki resolve?
    17. 17. How will you measure success?
    18. 18. What is the expected return on investment?
    19. 19. Where will the content come from?
    20. 20. Who will use the wiki initially?
    21. 21. Who will use the wiki in the future?
    22. 22. Who will own the wiki?
    23. 23. Where will the wiki be hosted?
    24. 24. Which wiki should I use?
    25. 25. What controls will I need?</li></li></ul><li>Who will contribute?<br /><ul><li>90%: “lurk” but never contribute
    26. 26. 9%: do a little
    27. 27. 1%: do a lot</li></ul>Jakob Nielsen, Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute<br />
    28. 28. Who will do what?<br />Roles<br />Writers<br />Editors<br />SMEs<br />Managers<br />Partners<br />Customers<br />Tasks<br />Writing<br />Editing<br />Reviewing<br />Updating<br />Maintaining<br />
    29. 29. Define the editorial workflow<br />Pre-publication review (may be necessary for external wikis)<br />Post-publication review (via RSS feeds)<br />Ad hoc review<br />
    30. 30. Define the publication workflow<br />Default: What happens in the wiki stays in the wiki<br />Photo by Thierry<br />
    31. 31. Define the publication workflow<br />Wiki as an output format only: DITA2wiki<br />
    32. 32. Define the publication workflow<br />Print output from a wiki <br />Confluence PDF export<br />MediaWikiPdf Export extension (see wiki.service-now.com for an example)<br />
    33. 33. Who stands behind it?<br />IANAL: Consult your attorney for legal advice.<br />Warrantied content (read-only)<br />Unwarrantiedcontent (user-contributed)<br />
    34. 34. What can we do with users’ content?<br />IANAL: Consult your attorney for legal advice.<br />Grant a license vs. assign copyright<br />Explicitly stated in terms-of-use<br />Should be irrevocable<br />
    35. 35. What can users do with our content?<br />IANAL: Consult your attorney for legal advice.<br />Default: All Rights Reserved<br />Creative Commons<br />Other terms<br />
    36. 36. Thanks!<br />Resources I mentioned: http://www.janetswisher.com/?itemid=283<br />Email me: JMSwisher@gmail.com<br />Follow me: @jmswisher<br />Share your feedback: http://www.surveymonkey.com/stcsummit<br />