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May 2010

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Jeff McNeill

Great use of the gardening metaphor for wiki work (and social media in general). Gardening of the content and the community together. Great image as well.

Cheers, Jeff

Frances Bell

Thanks Beth. There is nothing I like better than a gardening metaphor. I wondered about including the concept of self-seeding where a plants scatters seeds about it, then the gardener selects which of the seedlings are allowed to survive - design by selection!

Emily Turner

Hi Beth,

If we’re looking at this from the perspective of a head honcho gardener, I would add:

*Have a team of gardeners*

Wikis are collaborative by nature, having a several people to bounce ideas off and enable/enthuse each other really are invaluable. Practically, it’s also much more stable when the maintenance of the wiki isn’t reliant upon just one person – with a team, if one person is burnt out or busy, others can pick up the slack.

In addition, make the team a diverse one. Again, collaboration, multi-authorship and therefore diversity of information is a key element of wikis (IMHO); with different people leading the charge on your wiki, there’s more opportunity for these different ways of thinking, sources & types of information and opinions to come through and be represented.

Also, be constantly recruiting new editors (and gardeners). If you see something you think would go excellently on the wiki, encourage the author to contribute it, offer to put it up for them, or guide them through it. Encourage your gardeners and editors to do the same – they have different perspectives and sources for information than you do, they can find things and people that you may never be able to find. This is done on a personal level – interact with your community outside of the wiki, communicate with people directly, don’t just broadcast your activities.

This kind of behaviour all has a ripple effect; doing teamwork and inviting people personally and getting enthusiastic will get your editors to behave the same, and your wiki juggernauts on to success! The best community outreach is when you inspire people to be just as enthusiastic about the project and they go on to contribute and recruit through word of mouth in their own spaces and communities.

I think ultimately what this results in is a wiki that isn’t just a collection of topics that *you* know and want to educate others on, but a tool that educates *you*. As a gardener, you have to nurture and let your wiki *grow* :)


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