Reports from BarCamp: Social Text and Wikiwyg

I spent most of this weekend at BarCamp. Met a lot of interesting people, ate too much crap (I have a weakness for chocolate!), and generally had a good time. BarCamp was in SocialText offices. While talking to Ross Mayfield, I realized that the whole premise behind SocialText is a easier to use wiki – one which you can get many people in an enterprise to use. Ross mentioned how he has been receiving feedback from some customers about usabiity, and one of the demands is a WYSIWYG interface. This morning, he unveiled Wikiwyg: a WYSIWYG method for editing wikis. Apparently one of the problems has been discoverability – many users did not even realize that wikis were editable.

Check out the demo here: I played around a little, and once you use it, it seems so obvious that wikis should work this way. However, I do wonder if this would be confusing to people who double-clicked on the page by chance, but did not mean to edit it.

Wikiwyg is open source, which means other wiki projects can adopt it as well. I think this could have a huge impact on the adoption of wikis. I wish I could have it now – I am setting up a wiki for my sister (a non-technie) to keep her academic work organized, and it would be much easier to explain to her how to use one if it had such a feature.

So, a big thanks to Ross and the SocialText team for doing this, and making it openly availble.

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