Why are wikis more common than documentation? #413

BlueManedHawk src #4001

It seems to me like wiki-based systems for collecting information on specific things are significantly more preponderant than proper official documentation on specific things, despite the fact that (based on my experience) such wiki-based information stores are often worse at being informative (most commonly due to a lack of comprehensivity and a disorganized unoptimized nature to the information). So why are they more common than proper official documentation on specific things?

citrons (bureaucrat) src #4002

official documentation takes effort to produce and is thus often not provided. wikis are an effective way to collaboratively produce content and can be quite high quality if done right.

BlueManedHawk src #4003

Well, alright then. So what helps a wiki get done right?

citrons (bureaucrat) src #4004

well, I'm not really an expert in this. I think it just comes down to being administrated well.

razetime src #4013

a wiki needs a community. You need people to think "yes I want to add this data to the public wiki" when they see something. This is easier with the general arts than it is with code. Emacs is a good example of how great community documentation can be, and how such a project should be moderated. Initial stages of public documentation are always messy. keeping it that way lets more people get involved. later you want to aggregate info and organize all of that together. this is what I've seen in the jsoftware wiki, (and k wiki, which has pretty much 99% of its work completed by me).

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