Goal: Make Wiki Page Reuse as Easy and Natural as Reblogging on Tumblr

Short post, but a note at where I’m at on the wiki project.

I’m a maddeningly circular developer, because I write code to help me think about problems. The Dokuwiki work is coming along well, given the amount of time I actually have to give to it, and given I took a detour to make it look a bit prettier.

But I wanted to get an idea down that has crystallized one of the major goals for me. On Tumblr, most content on your blog is borrowed — reblogged — from other sources. While you link to those sources, you display the content in your own space, and technically you display a copy of the content.

Initially more traditional bloggers like me thought this was a bit weird. Shouldn’t you link to stuff instead of copying it? What the heck is “re-blogging” anyway?

But with a combination of attribution features, favorite love, and interface genius, reblogging became a Tumblr norm. And now content flows though that system incredibly fast.

Wiki pages are different, certainly, in many ways. But I want to rethink them, with this idea of “reuse in your own space”as a controlling principle. I want a world where if I find a great treatment of how to use a wrapped MOOC on Derek Bruff’s Vanderbilt wiki I can “re-wiki” it to my own space, and the attribution, recognition, and linkbacks are such that Derek will actually like that.

That’s the pitch. Scared yet?

3 thoughts on “Goal: Make Wiki Page Reuse as Easy and Natural as Reblogging on Tumblr

  1. “Do you want to see something really scary?”

    I cannot remember, but there was some sort of reblog platform I experimented with about 6 years ago. Not that it matters.

    One consideration of difference is the finer granularity of a tumblr item, most typically a single piece of media w/o much or zero context compared to a quantum of wiki content. Reblogging is most cases is not all that different from a favorite/like, the purpose is less to repurpose than to vote up, or share to your circles.

    And I’ve not experimented; if I reblog your tumblr, and you change it, does my retumblr reflect the change? Or should it? (A fork being different of course).

    But when you make wiki reuse as lovely and addictive as tumblr, I’m there.

  2. Yeah — that’s a great point about granularity, and one I’ve been struggling with. With Tumblr you have these scannable atomic objects + commentary. With wiki you have articles + revision. It doesn’t have quite the social velocity or protection of authorial intent.

    But I love your last line, because it gets at what I’m talking about. Wikis don’t feel fun or addictive to me. And I think it’s partially because the sharecropping ratio is wrong. I promote or revise a wiki page, and those benefits feed to Wikipedia. When I promote something on Tumblr those benefits flow partially to me. In OER, where the problem is largely that the good stuff never gets to you, I think those incentives need rejigging. It’s not just easy and natural — make promoting great OER and revising it really *addictive*.

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