Wiki Showdown at Web SIG

I’m blogging live from Hurricane Electric, a web hosting company in Fremont CA who is hosting this Oct meeting of Web SIG. There are four wiki companies here; JotSpot, Socialtext, Atlassian, and Wetpaint. I was very happy to finally run into Zoli, I’ve admired his thoughts and viewpoints from his blog for quite some time.

Moderated by Peter Theony and Structuredwikis LLC

  • Audience Poll
  • 80% are using wikipedia
  • 50% are wiki editors
  • Ward Cunningham was founder
  • A wiki is always in motion
  • Wikis have been around since 1995

Ben Elowitz from WetPaint
Rich user experience, niche communities, aimed at consumer space.
Many of the wikis encourage embedding of images, and code snippets to YouTube and other video sites

Jon Silvers: Atlassian Software Software
First: The Ending

  • Sharepoint is the leading indicator
  • Believes that open source will continue to grow
  • Real time collaboration
  • Consumer social networking
  • Evolve or perish

Why is everyone talking about Wikis?

  • Thousands of organizations now use them
  • Before Web 2.0 there were wikis
  • Traditional enterprise software models are broken
  • Killer App

Primary Product is called Confluence

  • 18000 customers (correction: 1,800 customers)
  • IBM Developerworks runs on confluence, SAP Network, Accenture
  • Growing at 20%

Dr. Jonas M Luster: SocialText

  • Downloaded model to download from sourceforge.
  • Gave kudos to the other wikis on the panel
  • Metaphor of Cars and Wikis. Like cars, wikis help to power movement and transportation.
  • Social text is trying to be the car, the middle ground of really good collaboration.

Scott Johnston: JotSpot

  • Purchased by Mercury Interactive (Update: This is out context, Scott’s previous company was acquired by Mercury, thanks Scott for the comment)
  • How to make a mainstream wiki
  • The core principle is the edit button!
  • Office 2.0 = Collaboration
  • Has page types/templates
  • Has a family template (I’ll have to check that out)

*Panel Discussion*

Discussing Challenges: Wikis in the past, a shared workspace

Ben: Consumer Space challenges: Awareness is an issue, which is the foundation for adoption

Jon: Workplace issues: the challenge of getting wikis adopted at the workplace is key as you may need privacy and permissions. They discourage folks from segregating information as it’s not natural to the whole purpose.

Barriers is that IT must install it. Now with this bottom up install approach, is that anyone can get involved and start it.

Jonas: Discusses how awareness has arose from etech article. Relates to linux strategy.

Where are we on the hype curve for wiki adoption?
Most folks in this room are wiki savvy. By general business users awareness is low. Where there are self claimed wiki experts suggests hype.

What are the reasons for wiki consolidation?
When wikis are small it’s easy to garden them. As wikis grows moderations will be needed.

What challenges can wikis fix?
Email is an awful way to perform collaboration. Version control is a standard feature., tracking makes it easy. The next evolution will be putting workflow into wikis

Case study for wikis are used to replace wikis

What about wikis for the intranet?

Wikis enable anyone to contribute value without being a developer or coder. It can self regulate

What kind of challenges need to be solved in the future

Awareness is now an issue but websites now can change. Great experiences need to happen.

Question and Answer

1) Discussion about legal usage of changing webpage.
2) how many wikis vendors will survive? It’s unknown.
3) Outdated information is out on the web, and overflow of information.
4) Group participation to define a “Wiki”. The best answer, as voted by the 4 panelists was the answer involving “by the people, for the people”. My answer would have been “Community Knowledge

Event Format
I would love to see the next web Sig have more focus on web presentations with a richer and deeper involvement with the vendors.


Scott Johnston