Best Practice and the Wikipedia Big Brain
September 25, 2006 · Blog264 · Posted by Jordan Frank
When you look at an ant colony, it seems like there is a big brain somewhere.
. . Lots of people don't like having structure imposed on them.
The "ants" surely do the lion's share of work to build wikipedia.
- Wikipedia has guidelines
- Wikipedia has policies
- Wikipedia is not a democracy
Nicholas Carr recently wrote about A Fork in Wikipedia's Road, where the 207 member Association of Inclusionist Wikipedians and the 144 member Association of Deletionist Wikipedians are advocating different sides of the wikipedia governance debate.
Collectively, there are a set of rules that govern what can be done in this wiki and people who manage the structure through the list of possible categories and who enforce the rules, though sometimes with differing philosophy, but all with common governance.
As many companies are fretting with developing blogging policies (see Blogging Policy = Blabbing Policy), Wikipedia provides a good case study which includes top-down policy and structure, wherein the ants may freely work bottom-up towards the group goals.
Best practice recommendations (see KM Forum and case studies from Ipsen, a global pharmaceutical company and SITA, a network provider to the airline industry) show that similar top down support and a set of structure and rules for a workspace provide a necessary framework for knowledge workers to adopt technology with willingness and efficiency.