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Working with wikis

In the wikinomics reading this week, wikis are discussed in depth in regards to how they work with businesses and companies. Page 247 explains that younger generations of web workers are using new web based tools that promise advantages for companies. Tools such as wikis allows for peer-to-peer collaboration where workers can broadcast collective information in one place. Wikis allow people to engage and cocreate with more people in a more versatile system.

It seems that all these new powerful web tools are becoming more and more popular among businesses and can be used efficiently among different companies. However, I have to be somewhat uneasy about the accuracy of information on wikis. A lot of my professors specifically instruct students not to get information from sites like Wikipedia, because anyone has the power to go in there and change information and record inaccuracies. So, while wikis allow for this great collaboration that normally wouldn't be possible with other mediums, this advantage also introduces some disadvantages. With so many people adding information to a wiki, there is a lot more room for error. Additionally, it is hard to monitor and edit such an expansive site that has so many web workers constantly updating information.

Finally, wikis can contain so much information that it can appear unstructured and unorganized making it difficult to make effective use of the site. Similar to writing a group paper – where everyone has their own writing styles – a wiki is bringing together so many different web workers that it can be hard to maintain uniform and stay consistent among entries. So while wikis are a very powerful online tool and can be great resources to receive information, users must be conscious of the downsides and maintain some skepticism about the accuracy of the information.

Comments

Brittany, I think you bring up an excellent point and I like your analogy. Thinking about it, wikis really are similar to writing a group paper and I agree with you that this can make it difficult for uniformity across entries. This may also contribute to the lack of trustworthiness of wikis to see that there is such variety among pages. On the other hand, it does demonstrate a lot of variety and creativity. Therefore, I think you are right in saying when viewing information on wikis like Wikipedia, users need to maintain a certain degree of skepticism.

The Wiki is a great source of peer-to-peer collaboration. This can help cut down on physical meetings since you can log on from anywhere at anytime and see what's going on.

Maybe if there was a way for users to see if who made the last change was an administrator of the site, they could feel that the information was reliable?