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Bartlomiej Owczarek weblog

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Wiki of choice: Wikispaces

In order to choose a wiki for one of my pet projects I had to spend quite a few weekend hours on comparing, demoing and testing things available on the market. There are lots of them, and I had little background to start with. As a matter of fact, my experience with wikis is limited to Wikipedia… and it’s only reader’s experience.

Eventually, I decided to go with Wikispaces.

I thought my expectations towards wiki to be quite typical, so I was quite surprised that it was so hard to find a suitable solution. My basic requirements for the wiki were the following:

  • Should be hosted
  • Should preferably look as simple and clean as Wikipedia
  • Should preferably NOT look or feel like Sharepoint
  • Should demand as little overhead as possible ? for example provide a WYSIWYG editor
  • Should be cheap, at least in the beginning

I found some helpful sites giving an overview of the wiki landscape, including:

  • Wiki page with list of wiki solutions
  • WikiMatrix? really nicely done dynamic matrix comparing different wikis

In the end I established some intimacy with the following wikis:

  • Confluence
  • Editme
  • eTouch SamePage
  • Jotspot
  • Socialtext
  • Stikipad
  • Wikispaces

Below, rather than a detailed review (I have full time job, sorry), a report on impressions along the way. (read more…)

Wikipedia has its place

Wikipedia received a great deal of criticism lately. The poster child of the new Internet became a favorite target for anyone having an issue with the noise generated by web2.0 prophets. Nicholas Carr fired a resounding salvo in October with his ?Amorality of Web2.0? article.

Using Wikipedia as a representative of the emerging ?cult of the amateur?, he examined some sample deliverables of this new mode of production. Compared with work of the professionals, in this particular case Encyclopedia Britannica, the results were rather unimpressive, to say the least. Clearly, the exhibits made it hard to imagine that any respectable researcher would use Wikipedia as an authoritative reference.

At that point I felt an urge to write a longer comment to this topic. It seemed ridiculous to me to even consider Wikipedia as an authoritative reference and compare it with professional work. Regardless of whatever the Wikipedians might be saying, I felt that no one serious would expect authority from Wikipedia. That said, lack of authority doesn?t negate in any way how useful Wikipedia can be. (read more…)