Rant: Why I Hate Wiki/Twiki/SnipSnap/etc..

  1. They are overused, often for no better reason than "because we can". As a side effect, wiki nazis are starting to crawl out of the woodwork and harangue people who don't use wiki for their own pages.

  2. I'm used to hand-authoring html and css. I hate the lack of fine control over my layout and structure.

  3. Ugly to look at, often horrible to navigate. I've seen some truly incomprehensible sites with hideous layouts where it's hard to find the information you're looking for, if it even exists at all (not that this is unique to wiki-like resources)

  4. Yet another grungy, nasty syntax to learn. Yeah I could learn it but I'm bored and fed up with learning new ways to do things slower and uglier than before.

  5. Come on, be honest. How many wiki pages have you seen where little or no collaboration actually takes place anyway? Yeah. Loads.

  6. Contradiction in terms though it may be, snipsnap both sucks and blows.

I'm sure there are good uses of wiki and friends out there. Do you know a wiki site on the web that is good looking, well structured, easy to navigate and genuinely useful as a collaborative tool? Add a comment and gimme the URL.

Comments:

Check out Wikipedia. Although I agree with you on the point that most wikis out there do not serve any useful purpose, there are a few like wikipedia that do stand out.

Posted by Lars on August 19, 2004 at 04:54 AM BST #

I believe that Sun Labs public site is Wiki based, but I basically agree with you.

Posted by Dave Levy on August 19, 2004 at 07:35 AM BST #

disquieting ugliness and amateurish information (dis)organization is now a part and parcel of web experience, and as you point out, most wikis/twikis/etc are especially good at testing one's gag reflex. sigh.

Posted by oz on August 19, 2004 at 08:06 AM BST #

What's wrong with snipsnap?

Posted by blalor on August 19, 2004 at 09:28 AM BST #

there are ample good usage examples and it is well known that the \*default\* style sheets of snipsnap are course. that said, with a \*small\* amount of tlc (and/or collaboration) it is trivial to generate an elegant site that really doesn't resemble a blog/wiki/etc but is simply an easy to navigate site with a ready-to-use publishing engine.

Posted by gonzo on August 19, 2004 at 09:48 AM BST #

hear hear!

Posted by watt on August 19, 2004 at 10:26 AM BST #

http://wiki.freedesktop.org/Main/Home

Posted by Sahil on August 19, 2004 at 01:07 PM BST #

Maybe what you are against is how WikiWikis are currently implemented? Imagine a WikiWiki that used a rich editor control and let you move back and forth between a WYSIWYG view, an HTML view, and a Wiki Markup view; you could edit with the view that you wanted. Wiki pages would look just like normal pages. Instead of having an edit button or a new page button on the page these two buttons would be in the browser; the browser would differentiate the edit mode for that page, whether to use a WikiWiki POST, WebDAV, XML-RPC, etc.

Posted by Brad Neuberg on August 19, 2004 at 02:13 PM BST #

Most web pages are doo-doo. TWikis are not an exception. You should use whatever floats your boat. Many times I find that TWiki is a good substitute for sending out important technical specs as attachments in email, and expecting everyone to archive them. That happens all too often where I work in Sun.

Posted by Chris Quenelle on August 20, 2004 at 09:00 AM BST #

I happen to like SnipSnap - it is quick and simple to use, and while it has a couple of annoyances, they aren't overwhelming. I do, however, use it for my personal consumption only. It is probably not the best tool for a collaborative site.

Posted by jb on August 31, 2004 at 01:32 PM BST #

Try a faceted wiki. They're cool

Posted by John Sequeira on August 31, 2004 at 03:11 PM BST #

I think snip snap does a good job of combining a blog with a wiki

Posted by tom on September 02, 2004 at 12:55 PM BST #

...and don't get me started on the proprietory nature of their storage/versioning and lack of integration and use of regular HTML.

Posted by Matt Hosanee on September 08, 2004 at 08:31 AM BST #

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Jimmo has been at Sun since 1994 and is currently a director within the software organization. This blog is infrequently updated with his thoughts, ramblings and observations. Enjoy!

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