Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wigis: Wikis inside blogs

This post has been superceded (see here), wigis have been around for a few years under the name bliki. However, please keep reading for some rationale for blikis/wigis.

There was formerly a ceative commons licence on the idea of wigis, but the licence is clearly inappropriate and now withdrawn, because prior art is demonstrated elsewhere.

This text deleted: I have no firm idea if wigis have already been proposed or implemented, but an initial survey indicates not. So, given recent and highly inappropriate patent granted to Blackboard, I've taken the precaution of adding a creative commons licence to this page (on 19th August 2000). I am also making the entire blog contents subject to the same creative commons licence (as of 19th August 2000). Click on a Creative Commons Licence symbol to see the particular terms (Including commercial use allowed, attribution needed, and share alike).

Why blikis/wigis in Education?

As per the experiment going on in this blog, one could envision a wigi -- a wiki inside a blog.

You are reading a simulation of a wigi page in a simulated wigi now. These are only simulations because I am adding to the blog template manually to make it appear as though it contains a wigi. As with a wiki page, this simulated wigi page will change over time.

Each wigi page is simply a blog post that appears in the blog as a post (small variation below). A wigi page may be part of network of other wigi pages, just as a wiki page may be part of a network of other pages. As with a wiki page, a wigi page is probably developed over time.

Putting wiki functionality into a blog may provide value for bloggers who want to learn about something over time, documenting what they learn. Or the pages may be suitable for incremental development. The pages appear in the blog, everyone reading can get to see the pages when they are first posted, maintaining blog-like chronological posting functionality and making all wigi users aware of new entries.

One user interface mechanism that could be used is that a wigi page is simply flagged as such before publishing the post. As an extension of that, any blog page could be toggled between being a wigi page or not.

Correspondingly, if a page had wigi status the page would be automatically listed (and clickable) in something like the blog sidebar. This is good for small numbers of pages, as so far in this blog. [Unfortunately, for now, these links only appear in the home-page sidebar. To get to the home page, click on 'markz space' at the top of any page. The sidebar links will later be added to each page.]

For larger wigis, perhaps a set of 'starting-navigation' wigi page links would be displayed on each blog page's sidebar, rather than all wigi page links.

Networks of pages could be created if the page creation and editing facilities accepted wiki-like syntax for other blog pages [[Example page]], even, wiki-like, to the point of allowing pages to be made if they do not exist when their links are clicked. The syntax might include other blogs and their pages [[clcommunity:Example Page]], enabling cross-blog networks of knowledge to be constructed. One would only be able to create a new page if the link being clicked on was in a blog where the user was logged in, or could log in en route to creation.

The pages in the wigi would likely be re-edited by one person (for a personal blog) or many people (for a group blog).

In a sophisticated version perhaps posts would be switchable between blog-displayed or not. The latter for structure pages in the wigi which would convey little in the blog out of the task context in which they are used, when the blog is being read as a chronological or tag structured entity.

Building in too much functionality might affect usability unless carefully presented. I have heard people complaining that wikis appear overcomplicated with respect to all the links around the main text. I sympathsise with them, even though I like wikis.


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