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Importance of Wiki Disadvantages

To be completely honest, I am a little skeptical of wikis. Well, I suppose just Wikipedia. I don’t really trust that site because it can be changed by anyone and who knows if the information someone puts up is correct. How can credibility be established with a site like this? I don’t really have the answer to that question but I can see how wikis are an effective tool in the workplace. This is evidenced by the Geek Squad at Best Buy where they used a wiki to bring members together to develop product ideas and designs (Tapscott & Williams, * 243-244). It is an excellent place for collaboration and the sharing of ideas. The fact that wikis can be easily altered to add or remove things makes them quite simple to use. One thing that I like about using a wiki in the workplace is the connections that can be made between employees even though they might be separated by thousands of miles.

The two readings for this week talk about the numerous benefits of wikis and how they can be used in today’s workplace. Leuf & Cunningham* also talk about two disadvantages of wikis which I think are important to keep in mind when we are creating our site. They are that a wiki,

1 “can be too open, providing too little visible and enforced linking between contributions and who made them.
2. It can be too unstructured, with unacceptable freedom in how material is contributed and organized.” (33)

I can see where these two pitfalls might happen in the workplace. It goes back to the readings from last week about organizational schemes and structures. If everyone follows their own concept of organizing what they add to a workplace wiki, the information can easily be arranged in a while that is confusing. However, I feel that if a workplace wiki had specific restrictions about what could or could not be added or how, employees might not be as interested in contributing or might not be as creative as they could be without the restrictions. Therefore, I think the importance of these disadvantages is to be aware of them and perhaps foresee how they could affect your wiki (in whatever the context).

I think these two disadvantages might not affect us as much because we have a plan for how our information is going to be organized on our site, and we know who is doing and contributing what. Even if this plan changes in the future, we have an outline of what the site will be. But I think it is important to keep these disadvantages in mind as we construct the wiki. It can become easily unstructured if we don’t stick to our plan for how to organize the information on our site.

* Note the dates weren’t listed on the PDFs for the citations.

Comments

I agree with your skepticism about wikis - we all should be a little cautious when it comes to trusting the information on them. However, our readings this week did point out a lot of great aspects about them and how companies can use them to their advantage. Being aware of the disadvantages of wikis will definitely help prevent some of their pitfalls and keep their information reliable and accurate.