Wiki titles vs. blog titles

Blog titles are headlines. They’re supposed to be catchy and attention-getting. You’re not supposed to need to remember them.
Wiki titles are subjects. They are best as unadorned nouns and noun phrases that are easy to remember and stimulate collisions.
Take the last post, for example. The title is a blog-style headline — Oishii, a smarter zeitgeist check. If this were a wiki-blog, I’d be tempted to give it a dull, basic title — just “[Oiishi]”. Then I’d link it to a page called “[Zeitgeist]”, which would cross-link the various zeitgeist checking services, like Daypop and Blogdex, and the New York Times most-emailed pages.
This way, anytime someone tries to link to [Oishii], they’ll find the entry and add their new thoughts and information.
One of the bits of damage done to the wiki paradigm by the addition of the blog feature in Socialtext and the blog nature of our shared intranet wiki is the use of catchy, blog-style headlines that will never generate a link happy accident in a million years.
One healing practice is to create “index pages” that link together the various catchily-phrased pages. When the newsworthiness is gone, the content can be refactored into a page with a duller topic.
The obverse danger can be seen Bill Seitz’ blog-wiki, Not to pick on Bill, but to show the opposite risk. Bill writes regular, interesting updates, but they often have boring subjects like Jabber and Paul Allen.
The wiki-blog has a valuable pattern, where people have incentive to post and share new content, which can be annealed into longer-term knowledge. But there are also gaps that need to be cleverly bridged in order to get the best of both genres.

One thought on “Wiki titles vs. blog titles”

  1. Wikis titles tend to suggest an interesting constraint in that one has to think about language not only in terms of how it will be read, but also in terms of how it will be re-typed.
    Now that some wiki tools are using WYSYWIG editors that allow any phrases to be turned into Wiki Words, (in my experience) people less experienced with text-only wikis are creating pages with longer titles that translate into practically un-re-type-able Wiki Words. Linking to these pages requires cutting and pasting these extended titles.
    Maybe a nice bit of AJAX genius could go into allowing one to look up existing Wiki Words while typing / editing page. Perhaps such a thing would undermine some of the need for the old-school wiki title style?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *