Wiki vs WordPress – When and How to Use a Wiki

When should you use a wiki? And when is WordPress the better tool for managing content?

MediaWiki vs WordPress

MediaWiki and WordPress both manage content and that’s where the similarity starts and ends.

WordPress – One Post One Owner

In WordPress one person writes a post, another may edit and publish it, and even more others can critique it with comments – but still, each post is primarily the work of one person.

Many months after a post is published can you imagine a friend, a colleague or a complete stranger going in and removing a couple of sentences and adding another paragraph right at the top?

It’s In the Louvre – It’s Finished!

The Mona Lisa cannot be changed after the event - like a WordPress post.
With WordPress, editing a post after the event is like painting a pink line to enhance the Mona Lisa! Or tweaking the ending of a Harry Potter novel.

Change is not rude – Change is a must

Six months after publication – a WordPress article doesn’t change. In MediaWiki – six months after publication – the content MUST change. It is not rude to change it – it is imperative that someone (or somethree) changes it.

When and How to Use a Wiki

Let’s cover 5 situations for which a wiki is just perfect. If your situation does not match any of them, it is worth remembering that every successful wiki has 2 unmistakeable aspects.

  1. shared interest and
  2. an evolving subject

The group of people with a common purpose can be the wiki’s producers as well as its consumers. Either that, or the wiki’s producers draw direct benefit from having a well-informed community of consumers.

The Juggling Ball Anti-Pattern

If you sell juggling balls and you want to educate and inform those that buy the balls – should you use a wiki?

The advice is semi-static – so there is no evolving subject. And with no evolving subject – the success of one juggler isn’t predicated on the success of many jugglers. The wiki won’t work.

The Bicycle Assembly Company

If your company makes high performance mountain bikes – each bike may comprise of 350 separate parts from over 50 suppliers. Suppose your wiki had a page for each part and a page for each manufacturer. If your people documented the specification of each part and left notes about quality, reliability, failure rates – and did the same for each supplier as a whole – what happens when you are designing the next generation bike?

Rich information saves a lot of time, misunderstandings and confusion. Well-informed decisions will be taken when provisioning the parts for the next-generation bike. Supplier relationships can be leveraged.

In this environment, wiki’s empower. They can make the difference between a good and an excellent manufacturing process. Those that don’t contribute are left out in the cold. Those that provide rich information are seen as “authorities” in that area and will be respectively rewarded.

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