Wikis: Dealing with vandals

 DogNetImage found here.

There has been some insightful discussion around the problem of vanadalism of wikis or people making unwanted changes to wiki content out in the blogosphere. Maybe it’s me, but if we’re basing out fear of using wikis on the possibility that a few malicious people will ‘mess things up,’ then are we being too paranoid? Should this paranoia extend to us who use wikis in the business world? I mean if someone is actively sabotaging content on our wikis then maybe there’s a problem with that individual that you could probably address with them directly or through their manager.  And realistically, if someone is spending extra time putting unwanted content on wikis, what does that really say about them other than they have a lot of time on their hands?

Within a highly political body, like a corporation, I could see organizations struggling over ownership and stewardship of content. I definitely could see this among people if the company rewards people for ownership and leadership of ideas or initiatives.  But then let’s remember that the wiki is sort of a ‘knowledge playground.’  It’s not necessarily a warehouse or library of formal information.  Wikis are about people working together to gather information or put it together. It’s a community affair.  We need to encourage people to embrace the new paradigm (sorry, I’ve used this word more than twice now this week) of collaborating to build content. More, we need to let go of our assumptions that a few people who ‘suck’ will spoil it for the rest of us. As Luis Suarez points out in post on  elsua: The KM Blog:

Start provoking that cultural change today! Don’t leave it for when it may be too late. Own the wiki experience as if it were yours!There will be a great chance that you will get out of them just you wanted and I am sure that people will not suck then while interacting with wikis. Up to us now to provoke that cultural change.

From elsua: The Knowledge Management Blog post

Even if vandals or mischievious imps take their toll, wiki software allows you to quickly wipe away their wiki-graffiti. In fact, software such as the Wikipedia-used Mediawiki actually has wonderfully simple features which allow you to quickly rollback content and remove unwanted changes. Sounds like I’m trying to sell pimple creme here.

Resources or other fun nuggets:

 

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