Wikimania 2007 talk: “Enhancing wikis with social networking tools”

Talk: “Enhancing wikis with social networking tools” by Evan Prodromou (surname pronunciation guide: “Pro-Dro-Mo”, the “u” is silent)

WikiTravel founder

Keiki co-founder

Q: What makes wikis great? A: Cumulative effect – everyone can edit. Easy and adaptive. Progressively improvement. Get something close to consensus opinions.

…. but wikis can’t do everything! Don’t over apply wikis. Example the wikiclock – lets users update the current time, manually. Surprisingly accurate (only a few mins behind)

Wikis are not good for:

  • Automatable jobs

  • Personal opinion

  • “Protected” content & structured content

2 Types of wiki Communities:

  • community of practice (lets get something done)

  • community of interest (shared areas of interest)


  • 65% of WikiTravel users are engaged for 1 day or less (1 edit – never see again)

  • 95% for less than 1 month

  • This accounts for 70% of edits – so get lots of content from anon people.

Want to retain users, keep users engaged.

Features that work well with wikis:

  • Social networking

  • Blogs

  • Photo sharing

  • Forums

  • Social bookmarking

I.e. the whole web 2.0 playbook.

This works well, and complements wikis well.

Tagging / concepts / categories. Gives a way to associate wiki content with non-wiki content. Unity of content (wiki) versus a multitude of chaotic content (social side)

Don’t repeat yourself: People don’t want a new blog, or a new Flickr site. Want tagging. Done via RSS, FOAF, web APIs.

Can do various ways of gluing stuff together (Likes Drupal for example).

Case study #1: WikiTravel Extra.

  • Travel is very personal

  • Opinions

  • reviews! Want to capture these.

  • travel photos


  • Drupal

  • Shared login via OpenID authentication system (was already using at WikiTravel)

  • Lots and lots of plugins

  • Custom software and glue code to bring it all together

Showed WikiTravel Extra:

  • same logo & look and feel as WikiTravel

  • lots of different content and blog posts.

  • Have geographic forums

  • Have photo sharing

Results: Have had good feedback from Extra.

Case study #2: (the name is Hawaiian for “child”).

Decided to create a free content parenting guide, open to everyone, edited by everyone.

Even more that travellers, parents like to share their experiences.

There are privacy concerns (e.g. sharing kids photos)

Have no existing wiki community. Need to focus more on content production, less on the wiki community.

Results gave a demo. Just opened today! Launching in French and English.


Q: Will be made into a paper book?

A: Hopefully, yes.

Link to talk’s page.