Enterprise Wikimania

    August 8, 2006

Sunday morning I was on a great panel about enterprise wikis with Josh Bancroft, Ned Gulley, Michael Idinopulos, Karim Lakhani and Andrew McAfee.

The panel was a true conversation, drawing in equal contributions from the audience. Andy’s takeaway was that with a freeform enterprise wiki you can positively accept contributions because it is different behind the firewall:

Ross Mayfield said that in four years of building wikis for corporations Socialtext has seen precisely 0 trolls and 0 instances of vandalism. I was astonished by this and polled the entire room. No one reported even a single instance of counterproductive behavior on the wiki.

As I’ve written before, one of the advantages the Intranet has over the Internet is that people within companies share a culture and norms, and are usually quite reluctant to overturn them. In addition, vandals and trolls can usually be easily identified behind the firewall. So perhaps I shouldn’t have been so suprised that employees aren’t using corporate wikis to act out.

The zero bad behavior (so far) can also be seen as an indicator that people are more often than not, good.

My takeaway was a general consensus that while the tool matters, practices make wikis work and we need to share more. Socialtext shares best practices openly to advance broader adoption. The audience asked for way for the conversation to continue, and for resources mentioned be available.

Of course, we set up a wiki: https://www.socialtext.net/ewikimania

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Ross Mayfield is CEO and co-founder of Socialtext, an emerging provider of Enterprise Social Software that dramatically increases group productivity and develops a group memory.

He also writes Ross Mayfield’s Weblog which focuses on markets, technology and musings.