At work we’ve installed a Wiki on one of the internal servers at work. I think it is a great idea. Or at least it has some potential. There is a lot of information that needs to be spread around the dev department that isn’t getting spread around. There are some internal newsgroups, but they don’t seem to be used much. Mailing lists work well for some things. But it seems that a Wiki could be useful for easily making timeless data available.
A co-worker of mine is very unimpressed. Since there are not very many people in dev, perhaps the pool of people is too small for a Wiki to work. He also seems to think that the data will be to unorganized, and no one will be able to find stuff. There are too few people for “self-organization” to happen He concludes that it isn’t worth his time to put information into it.
He is probably right, in that the Wiki isn’t likely to be successful, but I think the chances are better than he puts it. There seems to be a mindset that accessing information should be as easy as looking in a library catalog. But our group doesn’t have the resources to make such a catalog. Our only hope is that self-organization will happen.
But I think my co-worker is setting his retrieval standards too high. If a library is servicing a lot of people, it is worth the effort to make data-retrieval as simple as possible. But we are servicing only a few people, and it doesn’t make sense to have the same level of ease of access. So I think it is acceptable for people to have to put in a lot more work to find information in the Wiki. So even if the information is somewhat disorganized, and it feels like it is a big pain to find anything, that’s okay.
I guess there are two main questions. Will people put enough information into the Wiki? Will it be so disorganized, that it isn’t even worth the effort to got searching for it in the Wiki?
If in the end, the Wiki dies, I won’t feel my data entry was wasted. Because I can’t think of a better place to put my information that I have.