Monday, July 10, 2006

Are blogs and wikis the same?

How quickly can I get into trouble with this?

  1. Of course they are - they let people communicate on the web by populating websites with documents and metadata!
  2. Of course not

Users who voluntarily publish documents and metadata often care that they are correct!

Users often even try to assign some sort of metadata.

Now metadata and its use has its problems. Any one who has used a search engine knows about metacrap.
People lie, are lazy, stupid, and that's even before you realise not only is classification tricky, but as Clay Shirky explains in his essay 'The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview', it is difficult to use in many of the ways we dream about.

Despite all these problems, the users of wikis and blogs and all create the same sort of idiolect driven terms and often group them into a 'folksonomy' of sorts.

I hope you believe me - I have some examples in case you don't:
1. Tim Bray - the 'What' taxonomy in ongoing :BlogWikiHuh.

2. diveintomark: using the more accepted 'tremble as if they were mad' classification system.

3. Ted has one too. It even has a Lisp category.

I'm hoping this rambling has made sense. I didn't really know where I was going when I started but I now think I have made a little more sense of it for myself.

My final conclusion: Blog, wiki,, etc. are all the same sort of thing:

  • they all share the idea of the unique identifier (hyperlink) for a document,
  • they all have metadata
  • in a blog this can be those used in the title or the document itself, or those in a classification system
  • has its tags,
  • wiki's have WikiWords
  • they all use links as metadata to find other documents; wikiwords, tags, trackback.


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