A Q&A&Q Wiki: Whadya Think?

For a little while now, in my rare spare minutes, I’ve been playing with the demo version of a cool and very user-friendly hosted wiki tool called EditMe. I’m getting to the point that I want to do a public wiki project. But I don’t want it to be too narrowly focused – I don’t want to end up with an insular group preaching to the choir or arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

So I had an idea. Tell me what you think…

(Oh yeah – What’s a wiki?)

My idea is this: Rather than focusing my wiki on discussion of a particular topic (such as the PHP-GTK wiki) or serving a particular community (such as WikEd). I’d like my wiki to focus on a particular format that would allow the content to range in interesting and unexpected ways that would end up bringing together people from various communities. I like how that’s happened with WikiPedia, and I think that’s because the thematic glue of WikiPedia is a format rather than a specific topic or audience. (Yes, this is another fork in my recent thinking about online content format. Hopefully it’s not too “forked up.”)

I envision a Q&A&Q Wiki. In this approach, I’d mention a question that has been on my mind on virtually any topic that I think is likely to interest people other people in addition to myself, and write a brief answer to it. (I’m thinking 500 words max, kind of a short article format, in order to keep the amount of content manageable for people to browse through.)

The unique twist would be this: The contributions should be written in such a way that they would conclude with a related but slightly different question. Then, other entries to the wiki would answer that question – and end by posing their own questions.

I’m fascinated by questions. To me, they’re the connective tissue of the human mind and our collective consciousness. In fact, I suspect that our ability to pose questions and our drive to find answers is a defining characteristic of humanity.

If asked well, questions can lead to nearly infinite possibilities of growth and connection, both among people and within individuals. In my training and experience as a journalist I learned the value of asking the same question of different sources, or in different ways, and learning from the similarities and differences of answers. Also, my favorite book on logic and critical thinking is called Asking the Right Questions. So I’d like to try a wiki that would specifically be focused on questions and how one question leads to another.

Obviously, I haven’t worked out the details yet. But I’m seriously considering launching this. Participation would probably be by invitation/application only at first, until I see how it goes.

Anyway, what do you think of this idea? Please comment below or e-mail me.

5 thoughts on A Q&A&Q Wiki: Whadya Think?

Comments are closed.

  1. I agree that you have a nifty and novel idea for wiki-based content. If this is not your plan already, I might suggest that if I respond to your question and end with my own, that others could then take that as a new start for another QAQ.

    Also, the WikiPedia is intensively internally linked, which is what makes it a very exploratory space. You might consider how it would be made easy for people in wriring their own QAQs to be able to link to others that are there or are relevant.

    Also, how will you organize the Q’s? Will there be an index? or topical categories? I am not familair with EditMe’s features, but on the wiki’s I have set up in the last few months, I generally make the opening page “locked” (not open to the world for editing) so I can maintain a little bit of order at the front door.

    Looking forward to it…

  2. Regarding Alan Levine’s excellent and throughtful comments..

    Honestly, I haven’t thought it through quite that far. I’m just in the earliest stages, and I’ve never created a live wiki before. (i’ve posted to several, but this is my first launch). I’d genuinely appreciate assistance from experienced “wikiers” who could help me plan the details and get this set up just right. E-mail me at editor@contentious.com.

    – Amy Gahran
    Editor, CONTENTIOUS