Mediawiki, organisational websites and emergence

This week the unit I work for finally got its website up and going. The Curriculum Design & Development Unit (CDDU) is tasked with helping CQU “become a world leader in flexible and on line learning”.

Towards that end the website has been implemented using Mediawiki and its current content and structure has been put together using a very emergent process.

Rather than doing the up-front analysis and design of a traditional approach, we’ve basically made it up as we’ve gone along. Different folk making suggestions, changing or improving other peoples work and talking about what it all means.

I think this approach has worked because we’re a new unit, still figuring out exactly what we’re doing, who we are and how we fit with the rest of the organisation. This type of emergent approach has helped us formulate some answers to these questions.

There remains a question about how this emergent, “Web 2.0” approach will scale and work as the site progresses and our needs for it. There have been observations that the “Web 2.0” approach is more difficult in corporate settings because of the 1% rule. The idea that only 1% of contributors in online environments (e.g. Wikipedia) will contribute.

The implication is that 1% of the large number of visitors to Wikipedia still means a lot of contributions. 1% of the number of visitors to the CDDU website is going to be really, really small. So, consequently there’ll be very few contributions.

The difference for the CDDU site is that we’re not aiming for its main purpose to be built around user contributions. The site/wiki is there to help CDDU do its work. We, and the people we work with, will be the major contributors.

How many visits and contributions we get will be dependent on how well we use the tool, not on how many people visit and the subsequent 1% of contributions.

It shall be interesting to see how it emerges. For now I’ll keep a track here of how the statistics go

  • 15th August – 2,367 page views, and 365 page edits
  • 27th August – 5,751 page views and 629 page edits
  • 29th September – 26,181 page views and 1,215 page edits
  • 12th October – 31,689 page views and 1,367 page edits
  • 18th October – 34,718 page views and 1,457 page edits
  • 3rd November – 43,808 page views and 1,703 page edits
  • 11th November – 50,087 page views and 1,729 page edits
  • 13th December – 66,687 page views with 1,806 page edits
  • 1st Jan, 2008 – 73,605 page views with 1,827 page edits

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