Why Wikipedia is the biggest threat to Organizational Wiki Adoption

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Strange as it may sound, I believe that Wikipedia is one of the biggest ‘threat’ or issue when rolling out a wiki initiative in an organization.

I was at KAMP — a KM unconference and asked the partcipants on how many used Wikipedia as a refence, as an example for introducing Wiki to people within an organization. Almost all raised their hands and agreed.

What’s wrong with that.. you may think.. well what’s happening here is that you are sending a subtle message to people that it is a Wikipedia equivalent that we are trying to build within an organization and people seem confused on why would you want to do that.

KM professionals need to stress the ‘underlying principles’ of Wikipedia more that wikipedia itself when trying to start a wiki initiative and clearly mention that we will be using these principles to use the power of wiki in our organizational context.

So my advice to people is.. beware when you use Wikipedia as an example of wiki..

This is the presentation i used to illustrate some key ponts we need to be aware of while rolling out a wiki initiative


One thought on “Why Wikipedia is the biggest threat to Organizational Wiki Adoption

    Arun Ramarathnam said:
    November 26, 2007 at 2:24 pm


    I have been a wikipedian and contributor of content for a while. I think this confusion stems from many people not being able to understand and differentiate between Wikipedia and a corporate wiki.

    While both use the Wiki technology there are many differences.

    Wikipedia seeks to be a free and open encyclopedia. A corporate wiki does not intent to be that. It is meant to help people collaborate and build reference repositories of information that is of interest for a specific corporate. One could use it a platform for publishing competencies of teams, create case studies collaboratively, create and publish best practices and BKMs, etc to name a few usage patterns.
    Wikipedia content is open for all. Corporate wikis are meant for the intranet and can have sections open only specific work groups.
    Wikipedia is meanst for anyone on the internet. Whereas a corporate wiki is meant only for employees.

    I think Wikipedia is a great example to showcase how wikis can be used successfully for collaborative editing and content creation which is self regulatory and self correcting.

    I do concur with your opinion that the underlying principles of collboration in Wikipedia are applicable for any wiki and a great illustration.


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