Monday, December 20, 2004

Are Wikis Dead?

Some in the wiki community think its headed that way. Spammers and vandals really discourage people from caring about wikis. When people don't care the wiki gets abandoned and filled with more spam until the owner takes it down or it just becomes a permanant spam wiki.

Other evidence of wiki death are large wikis where there just aren't many edits anymore. Not large but good sized, the POPFile wiki doesn't get many edits anymore. Is it because its been abandoned? No, its because it is filling its purpose reasonably well and currently covers most of what it needs to. It could be better and efforts have been made to refactor it to better guide new users, but as for documentation its pretty complete for the current version of POPFile. Being pretty complete in addition to being passworded give me much less insentive to work on it. I just don't like that any wiki has to be passworded.

I don't think wikis as a format are anywhere near dead. If anything will kill wikis its passwording, they can still very useful that way, but it takes the spirit out of the wiki. There are lots of other less drastic solutions to spam, though none as effective.

Email is full of spammers and its not dead yet. Blogs mostly overcame the worst of the spam problem and are still growing in popularity. Wikis will survive too.

I guess the closest thing in the email spam world to passwording a wiki would be Challenge Response or only accept from a whitelist. I can't stand either of those. I have always thought I would just not email the person if I ever got one of those challenges. Just a couple days ago I got one, I was not happy about it but I needed to send the email so I responded. I have also had to deal with one of those whitelisters. I had to spell him my address a couple times so he could type it into his mail program so I could send him one email with a link he needed. What a pain.

More discussion at Death and the Wiki.

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