An open space inwhich different events can take place.
The key point here is that wikis do not presuppose or impose a structure to the discussion as do bullitin boards, emails, and other types of SocialSoftware.
Develop metaphor of wiki-topic-as-room:
Different tools/structures are like different displays on walls and/or different group processes going on in room. Picture a room with summary information about discussion on one wall, various polls and brainstorming lists on another wall, open discussion in back of room.
Wiki discussions should mirror core aspects of f2f conversations
Degree to which they mirror real world conversations is major factor in satisfaction.
Conversations are an event - bounded in time and space. The space is the wiki topic - it's structure and relations to other topics. The time factor is the tricky part because on-line exchanges exist in time differently than f2f interactions. (See further discussion below.)
F2F conversations have inherent structure that determine participants satisfaction of involvement. Examples of this include:
In wikis, this distinction is (over)simplified to document mode versus thread mode.
Even then, wiki tend to mix these together.
A key function of wiki facilitation is separating out these different modes and then integrating them. Hense the appeal of Wikipedia's discussion tab.
Wiki facilitation as more "robust" form of refactoring
Facilitation in all forms implies empowerment of facilitator to manage a discussion. I normally phrase this as saying the facilitator is empowered to help the group fulfill its stated goals.
The legitimacy of the facilitator is based on the group's agreement about it's goal and acknowledgement of the facilitator's role in furthering this.
Revisit Facilitator's Guide regarding role of facilitator. They do this by defining certain functions the facilitator serves to counteract certain tentancies of groups. I could do this in relation to wiki facilitor's functions to counter disfunctional wiki tendencies.
This thread specifically speaks to questions about power in wiki discussions. At first appears contrary to egalitarian wiki-ethic, but I don't think this is really the case.
Also in this thread is the matter of facilitator commitment and responsibility .
I'm using "conversation" to mean different things. Need different terminology. Or more refined. For example a group decision making event is actually a series of conversations .
A topic, like a room, can contain multiple conversations.
Comparison of f2f and wiki facilitation
For now, I'm going to do this as list. Later may redo as chart.
Is naturally bounded in time. Inherently synchronous
Inherent contraint to having multiple conversations. Only one person can talk at a time.
Relatively minor turn-over in participants. People may come late or leave early and this can be challenge for facilitation but not a major problem.
Primarily verbal (and non-verbal).
Incorporates many non-verbal channels.
No inherent time frame - asynchronous.
Two aspects of this. People may provide input to discussion at different times AND different participants may be at totally different places (or phases) of a discussion. For example: a group may reach consensus on a particular point but then someone may enter discussion later who in not in agreement on that point.
Limited contraints on how many people can talk at same time.
Primarily written (and possibly graphic).
Incorporates very little non-verbal channels.
Brainstorming aspects of wiki facilitation
Defining the conversation
How to frame a topic
Patterns for effective naming of topics
Creating boundaries to conversation
Distinguishing different kinds of conversations
Their purposes, timeframes, etc.
Structures and tools for different phases of conversation
Models for phases
Diamond of participatory d-m.
The objective level
The reflective level
The interpretive level
The decisional level
Identify different structures/tools for each level
Brainstorm list of facilitation tools to see how they could be modeled in wiki
Six hat thinking
Consensus decision making
This is only one specific tool but I want to capture some of my initial thoughts here.
Polls are really odd things the more I think about them. The have lots of uses but are often (IMO) overused. Using polls at the wrong time can be counter-productive.
Recommendations for using polls:
Limit in time. Open-ended polls have very little meaning.
Use questions to define poll.
Format polls such that question and poll mechanism can be extracted with search - for grouping polls on one page.
How to introduce wiki facilitation into existing wiki conversations.