Wired’s Wiki Experiment

Ross Mayfield blogs about an interesting wiki experiment that just ran at Wired magazine. Basically, the magazine posted–in a wiki–an unpublished article by Ryan Singel about the wiki phenonmenon. Readers were invited to come in and “do the job of a Wired News editor and whip it into shape.”

Mayfield’s got an interesting analysis of the experiment and how things went down, in particular how setting certain groundrules and expectations affected the outcome of this experiment, over something like the failed LA Times Wikitorial experiment.

I think the model is an interesting one and might be worth emulating in the classroom. In particular, I guess it’s the development of some “guidelines” that I think could be interesting to experiment with for a classroom assignment: a set number of editors, clear directions, and a finite amount of time to get the work done.

I love the idea of the “wild wiki” but there may be time and a place for creating guidelines and even rules about participation in a wiki assignment. . .


Read the actual article which went up at wired.com today.

Read Ryan Singel’s analysis of the experiment. He doesn’t think the wiki editors did a better job than a real Wired News editor. But he does acknowledge that the article contains a richer perspective on wikis as a result of the experiment. Interesting.

One thought on “Wired’s Wiki Experiment”

  1. Fascinating.

    Also fascinating how so apparently humble a thing as setting guidelines turns out to be crucial, a place where intelligence, insight, experience, even creativity are absolutely essential. I’m interested in the relationship between guidelines and heuristics (to be fanciful, the relationship between, say, poetic form and one’s trained intuitions about poetic meaning), and I think that being in an experience where an experienced learner sets guidelines is one of the most valuable parts of an education. Note that this value is quite distinct from mere transmission of content…. Setting guidelines in a manner responsive to learner, situation, even local environment is something that’s best done by a human being, I’d say.

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