Supporting Collaboration

A rhetoric of wiki will address
how wikis support collaboration
how writers use wikis to support collaboration
how to organize and manage the collabortation
writers' roles and contributions

Seen from a distance, everything on a wiki goes to support collaboration, from the /ComposingProcesses to /StyleAndPageGuides?.

And while collaboration writing has become mainstream and we have developed methods for facilitating and managing collaboration, collaboration on a wiki differs from collaboration in other writing media.

On a wiki, the significant issue is that audience and writer can swap places readily: writer becomes reader, reader becomes writer in quick succession. The facility of supporting this switch makes the wiki dialogic.

And the ease, speed, and site of the swap is significant. The wiki is not a discussion, and it is not like a typical threaded discussion forum. ThreadMode? starting points encourages EmbeddedDiscussion? or AnchoredDiscussion? on the way towards developing the mu,tivoiced thread to DocumentMode? and community knowledge.

The possibility that a reader can enter and edit the same text that she is reading encourages, invites, and makes possible the kind of collaboration I'm thinking about here - and a rhetoric of wiki will need to address this ease of swapping.

EmbeddedDiscussion
that is, discussion embedded in the very text being discussed. For instance, in an email exchange, we write about a text in progress in a space other than the text. In a wiki, discussion of the text under discussion is part of the text under disussion. Not necessarily a virtue, but it sure is heuristic.

The pecularities of collaboration on wiki entail.
pace
holding the page open
adding to the page
keeping knowledge from becoming static
returning and re-orienting writers
tacking page changes
tracking page names

Collaborative writing demands developing social conventions for composing, as practitioners have in /StyleAndPageGuides?

collaborative input and the need to organize the collaboration
Even when wiki writing is not collaborative, wriing in the wiki space demands that we find ways of handling writing that evolves over time and revisits. We're also writing in a fairly small form field with mimimal formatting. Keeping notes, partial drafts, bits and pieces at hand in the same place - or others - becomes both a technique we need to learn and a cognitive burden.

wikis have / keep track of how contributers interact
Example: see [http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?RefactoringWikiPages refactoring pages] on c2

ref to ComposingProcesses