I love wiki technology. I’m an editor on Wikipedia and I enjoy contributing to community-based content. The idea that individuals can contribute what they know to the rest of the world, and have it accepted at face value, is tremendous. It is also a bit weird.
Recently, I returned to the Wikipedia article that I kept meaning to get back to: the article on Enterprise Architecture. This is an article that had grown and morphed steadily over time, with each contributor adding bits of content in an ad-hoc manner. While many people had something to say, an unfortunate few took the time to consider that the resulting article was less readable, more opinionated, and less useful than when they started.
I was guilty of that same crime.
I had made minor edits to the opening paragraphs a few months ago. I didn’t take the time to really clarify things. I just wanted to add… And there’s the rub with community based content. No one is responsible for insuring quality.
Seeing that some changes had occurred since I last looked, I sat down to re-read it. What an awful bit of text! It was long, poorly written, with redundant material, and interspersed with conjecture and opinion.
This time, I tried something different. I took the time to discuss bits of text with other contributors, and considered multiple sources, before making a complete rewrite. I made it much shorter and more readable, trimming out information that either could not be proven, or belonged in a different article on Wikipedia.
It is not perfect. It’s wikipedia. If you don’t like it, change it.
Of course, now that I mention it here, a few dozen folks will go look, and my article will be changed within a few days to be unrecognizable again.
Oh well. At least it’s more readable now than when I started.