Saturday, June 26, 2010

wiki Thoughts and Conversations

A friend and coworker posted the following on FaceBook today based on a conference she was attending:

N: Wiki red links. That's just like addventure

which sparked a conversation between her and I, first on FaceBook, then in chat:

P:
what what what?

N: Wikis are like addventure, the way you create content and leave links to "content to come" red links. No, it's not the same, but it's not that different either. Maybe the wiki concept was inspired by addventure?

P: I've pondered that. And have part of a write-up for a blog about it.
The big difference was that Addventure never had a red link.
All Addventure's pages were static.
N: I'm sure you could change the wiki to display unwritten articles the same as written ones. The rest is implementation details

P: Yeah, but a key one at the time. We just didn't have the technology. We talked about "guides" that would be able to tell you where there were episodes that needed writing, but much more wasn't available with static pages at the time.
And yes, I see wikis as something of a descendent of Addventure. More free-form, of course. Makes me wonder if there are literary wikis (to tell a story, not to talk about a story) and how they handle some things.
N: there was a story-telling on a wiki done in an elementary school. Some succes, but the whole "story" was planned ahead, in small teams. but no one has seen a proper "addventure wiki"

P: and it might work in very small teams that coordinate... but the whole nature of a wiki is too dynamic. what happens if part of the backstory changes in a way to change subsequent episodes? you end up with a three dimensional story you're trying to tell. which might be good for a time-travel story, but horribly confusing to read.
It is certainly an interesting thought, wondering if a wiki would be suitable to collaboratively create a story. It certainly would have some advantages over the very rigid system that Addventure provided, but I think a wiki is... not rigid enough. Or at least not a conventional wiki that most people are used to nowadays.

Part of what I think was important about Addventure was the structure that it did allow authors to work in. When writing, you could be sure that you chose the options and how many options there were (within reason). As a reader, you could be sure there weren't "too many" choices in each episode. The choices were clear - they weren't links embedded in the story itself.

Are there lessons to be learned from a wiki? Absolutely. The whole concept of "wiki editing" was that it could be "quick" to create and edit a page. Addventure had a similar goal, but didn't have the technology to back it up too well at the time. But simple editors and simple markup I think would need to be the hallmark of a future Addventure. I also think that requiring an account would hamper the dynamics of Addventure, just like it hampers the dynamics of many wikis. But there should be benefits to having an account!

We'll explore all of this later.

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