The March Fedwiki Happening is about to end, so it’s time to say goodbye. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a participant, because it was a very interesting experiment.
Yes, I was able to glimpse the visionary idea and how it could be seen as promising, theoretically, in the very long run. As I understand it, this would be: No more edit wars, just fork and favor your own version, and no more gatekeeping publishing funnel, just fork your own issue and wait for the “peer-review after publishing”.
On a fedwiki page about Collaboration vs. Cooperation, I optimistically wrote: Working “on” a wiki page thus might suggest that there is collaboration, and hence a shared goal, and perhaps group think. But on the other hand, the Fed Wiki employs a networked style, the loosely connected style developed and proven in decentralized discussions such as blogs (distributed front porches). So it’s probably not sufficient to just consider the object/ matter of working together (collaborative, group), but also the style of working together (cooperative, networked).
But the assignment (on the topic matter of Teaching Machines, moderated by Audrey Watters) did not work well for me. On 2015-03-15, I wrote the following “Further thoughts”:
“Why don’t I engage with the topic content? I really intended to dutifully do the assigned homework, and there are plenty of pages that could be mined for generalizable ideas or patterns, and I do think this is a great advice for a learning step. But still I can’t get myself started, and I have to think about why not.
Currently I suspect that it is due to the sterile characteristic of the wiki pages, that they strive for optimum, unpassionate, information and for “softening the claims by the right amount” (quoted from [[Hospitable Editing]] ).
But I miss the author’s voice talking about WHY something is interesting, agreeable, questionable, important for them — and why I might like to engage with it, as well.
I miss the author’s meta remarks and inline comments, and I miss the opportunity to insert comments myself. On this occasion I noticed that the collaborative wikis I have worked with, did not resemble wikipedia (optimizing the final result), but were more like the MS Word Review function but with insertions and comments intermingled and not sharply distinguished from each other. And with color-coding by author!
Being not a social scientist, I often doubted why these person-to-person connections were so overrated in connectivism, while the concept-to concept connections seemed much more fruitful to me. And in a wiki, the latter ones are indeed perfectly optimized by a great network of hypertextual links.
But now I have realized that, without personal voices in between, the concepts alone don’t speak to me.”
I don’t complain about the conditions. As with rhizo14, I was fully aware that I would be a “lab rat” and I did it voluntarily. So I did not expect a ripe level of usability or a comfortable learning curve from the prototype software. For example, I readily put up with the unusual technique of comparing two versions side by side by finding where the paragraph lengths differed (fortunately, the page width was universally fixed). And with a bit of grumbling, I manually assembled the list of the pages that I had touched. Also I tried to help by reproducing the “Yellow Halo of Death” crash condition.
It was a bit more difficult to go without the normal Talk Page. But the most difficult thing was that there was no “What links here” page because this could have mitigated the contextlessness of the countless content pages. I would recommend to implement at least this feature for the next instance of the experiment.
I hope that we lab rats produced a sufficient amount of results for the experimentors. I think we did, and in this sense, the experiment should be seen as a success.