Wikis are great for creating ad-hoc collaborative and infinitely extensible stores of information and knowledge. Especially when such information is so easily transmitted AND so easily lost in email black holes as pointed out by Robert Rath on his post Wikis Bring Light To The Black Hole of EMail.
Emails are easy to use and conceptually comfortable. I simply type and send. Unfortunately they are also notoriously unorganisable. Even the basic attempt to write succinct subject lines elude many, let alone the ideal of sticking to one subject per email. And I include myself in this.
Enter wikis. As Robert is advocating, if I believe the information I am writing up in an email is potentially useful to more than the recipient, I should be sticking it in a wiki. This is especially true in a team environment where there are huge amounts of hidden knowledge that ought to be shared more overtly and officially.
Interestingly, more often than not, I have noticed a curious resistance to wikis. This seems more prevalent amongst managers and those who are more “control” oriented. These people are fine with traditional databases on one extreme (ie highly structured data), and emails on the other (supremely unstructured). But they seem to have difficulty coping with the in-between that is a wiki. They um and ah and try and find some reason as to explain why they believe a wiki is utterly unsuitable. There seem to be some genuine inability to grasp or be comfortable with the concept of a wiki. And I am not talking about older managers who don’t get it – I have seen this in people younger than me!
Has anyone encountered this when trying to suggest the use of a wiki?
Is this simply another example of “change is hard”?
Or does the idea of a wiki strike at some deep-seated fear in some people?
I wonder how much of the anti-Wikipedia movement is driven by this “fear” of wikis as a concept?