What did you expect? Wikis and their objectives


Recently I have again looked at a greater number of wikis other than Wikipedia. It struck me that one peticular question is often difficult to answer: what did the makers expect?

Obviously, the founders or owners of a wiki have not always clear goals. They sure have a ‘project scope’ that defines what content is desired and who is the target group. But I rarely see objectives, or often the objectives are hardly clearer than the general scope.

Or I see objectives in the form of ‘milestones’, with regard to some statistical marks. You want your wiki to have 1000 articles? Why? And what articles are we talking about? Quality articles that make your readers happy, or ‘articles’ of any kind, with the minimal definition ‘article = page in the article name space’?

An old joke says:

A politician talks about the goal he can already see at the horizon. Someone looks up the word in the dictionary: Horizon. An imaginary line. When you try to approach it, it will move away from you with the same speed.

If you constantly expand your scope, your goal will be like a horizon. Possibly, a wiki can make its contributors and readers much more happy with a limited scope and with realistic goals.

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