The Style Council

governanceI’ve been thinking quite a bit more about my “governance of the crowd” idea.

I think I differ from most folks who comment on this because I still think social media needs governance. Governance is wrongly perceived as a device to slow down and limit something. We seem to have forgotten why governance became an important issue in the enterprise, it was needed because the free for all that characterised intranets in the late 90s was not efficient and various problems of duplicated, abandoned, orphaned, contradictory, or just badly written sites proliferated.

It may have a radically different publishing model, but we can still judge a wiki in the same way we judge any other web site – is it providing me with the info I need.

But it’s a barrier to entry to force people to go through all the training needed to become a web writing expert, and people are too busy with their day jobs to do it anyway. Much as I would like to, we can’t make everybody read Jakob Neilsen – this isn’t to say that Jakob is usually spot on with what he says.

There is a good model about how this can work already, wikipedia, but most commentators focus in on the amount of content contributors and fail to notice wikipedia has a very well defined set of standards and a good mechanism for allowing the users to flag pages that don’t meet this standards.

The standards can be arbitrary as long as they are consistent. There is no right answer to what font to use on a web page, but picking one and getting everybody to use it helps with the consistency.

With that in mind, here is a quiz on the small details of style.

do it with style quiz

A couple of the answers folks might disagree with (and if you do so, thats what blog comments are for!) the point is its a style guide (in quiz form) that most folks can understand.

And – not to be obvious or anything, but todays pop music link is Paul Wellers post Jam group The Style Council

Now rather overlooked, and often willfully, annoyingly mannered they did some cracking tunes (and a lot of dross). The best tune they did was this one, a stomping Curtis Mayfield homage to breaking down barriers.





2 Responses to The Style Council

  1. 7/10 – I got less style 😦

    [bold and u/l were my downfalls], but I agree witht he general thrust of the article, and I’d think a wiki gardner would be quite entitled – natch – to move to chosen house style.

    I’d add that wikipedia has a lot of protected pages, so it isn’t all free for all, and AFAICR you have to log in to edit some pages.
    [I’ve done 2 wikipedia edits; hardcore!]

  2. sandyblair says:

    The bold question was a bit of a swizz, everybody seems to be getting it wrong, probably because I didn’t word it as well as I could have done.

    I’ve been trying to work out the answer to the question ‘how do you know if a particular wiki is any good’.

    I particularly liked this blog post

    And her highlighting of Clay Shirky’s comment that most wiki’s fail. Clay’s answer to that is move on, try again, my answer (in an intranet) is sometimes it might be better to spot and fix the reasons for failure.

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