How is a Wiki Different

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Cliff encouraged me to share a couple of thoughts:

On a typical wiki page "the answer" is at the top. The most highly evolved version of the answer is always visible. A wiki, like a forum is largely self-correcting, but you don't have to experience the process unless you want to.

In a typical forum discussion "the answer" is somewhere near but rarely at, the end. Finding the answer is a treasure hunt and you pretty much have to follow the clues and hope you recognize it if or when you stumble upon it.

A forum discussion

  • starts
  • takes on a life of its own
  • sometimes reaches a solution / conclusion
  • carries on and devolves, digresses, gets sidetracked or dies

Someone looking for answers can

  • start a new discussion
  • wait for the answer to emerge


  • search for a discussion that looks relevant
  • read through the unfolding story
  • try to identify the answer if it is there
  • try to recognize the point of diminishing returns, devolution, digression, sidetrack or death

Some people want the answer, some people enjoy the journey.