Thu 22nd April 2010, 12:15am
QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Wed 21st April 2010, 11:53pm)
Having convinced (myself) that Mediawiki software and Free Licenses do not promote collaboration but merely provides an aggregation of highly individualized decisions about content that hope for a never arriving invisible hand to sort out looking for some alternative software seems in order. Wiki, I am told, is the Hawaiian word for quick. Let's put as much distance as possible between the ideal software for collaboration and wiki. A handy internet resource of uncertain reliability tells me that Pialatok
is the Inuit word for slow. Embracing this as antitheses of wiki let's explore what a Pialatok collaborative software might look like.
A minimum set of features:
- A period of mandatory reflection delaying any submission and making it withdrawable by the contributor.
- A opportunity for people who are working on the article or subject matter area of a new article to review a new contribution prior to implementing changes.
- The ability of one or more editors (true sense) to act as project managers and assign tasks.
- A hierarchy of user permissions that provides credentialed or acknowledged knowledgeable contributors greater control and access than those lacking these qualities.
- A content dispute resolution system that fully recognizes expertise and contribution history and is not easily overwhelmed by "outsiders" to the article, subject matter or relevant disciplines.
- A licensing scheme that acknowledges ownership of content by a legal entity responsible for overseeing the overall direction and content of the project.
More thought needs to given to expanding or refining this feature list. Of course this removes the much of the Tom Sawyer Fence Whitewashing that led to the rapid expansion of Wikipedia. This won't work as a huckster's business model but it might provide a tool for promoting real, serious and sustained collaboration.
Looking at the feature list, you (and I mean you
) could implement something very close to this right now, using two open-source software platforms, and preparing a good governance model to fill in the gaps.
A Joomla! website content management system, where on the front end, you have a rich-featured searchable site, with the ability to segregate content by category and section, and by state (published or not, with the ability to build pages editable only by staff). On the back end, you have registered contributors who can write and submit, but not publish or categorize, articles. Those are authors. Your staff can be divided into administrators, editors, mangers, and these can sort, edit, and publish the contributed content.
A PHPBBS (or other open-source forum software) with a textual confirmation mechanism - and a requirement you must register under your real name (verification mechanism left as an exercise for the reader) to validate your contributions through the Joomla! CMS, and to discuss the standards and editorial policies. There would be a validation section where the identities of the staff would be displayed, and a masthead or org list on the Joomla!-driven part of the site.
The governance model would separate administrative activities from editorial and financial from both. I suppose at the top you would have a board to establish such policies and handle the business realities, and send guidance down to the editorial and enforcement sections.