Four distinct concerns surface when designing federated wiki based information communities. We identify each and suggest forces that must be resolved before creative collaboration will take place.
Kinds of People
What kinds of people will ultimately collaborate based on partially shared vocabularies and sometimes aligned interests?
Federated Wiki sites cluster around people who share tacit knowledge and speak the same language.
Explain how each participant brings pages which may or may not be consulted.
Explain how copying and then modifying pages advances one's work without detracting from that already done.
Explain how success in one neighborhood will encourage participation and then success among more remote contributors.
What needs to be said and understood? We can think of workflow addressing most communication but what about the remainder? Who will talk outside the norm and what will they need to say?
Explain how traditional workflows address the least interesting communications.
Explain what one might read from another before trying to ask or answer an unexpected question.
Explain how fork history distributes credit of even small innovations.
What measurements will be recorded and what interpretations will be made of them? How will devices or datasets be projected into the conversation? How will partial results be visualized and what changes when results are final?
Pages within overlapping sites cooperate as equals within the user's browser.
Explain how wiki's json representation is extended by plugins that interpret additional fields and structures.
Explain how each site controls the complement of plugins that extends its functionality and how a reader can trace back to a suitability provisioned site.
Explain how plugins can reach beyond the page that holds them to retrieve and process data brought together in the user's browser.
Talk About Work
What words will mean things in the context of various representations? How will they form sentences that get things done? If each representation has its own markup how will these expressions influence representations outside their realm of discourse.
Explain how representation specific adjustments can be made by ad-hoc changes expressed in a fit-for-purpose markup, a kind of domain specific language.
Explain how markup captures the details of work in progress and thus facilitates replication, confirmation and evolutionary improvement of technique.
Explain how powerful markup makes federated wiki a place to do work, not just a place to talk about doing work.