Friday, October 14, 2011


Rule 1: use symbols your users
will relate to
In keeping with the craze for following crazes, I've decided to add "badges" to our company wiki, Wisdom. I built Wisdom first as a personal note-taking tool on our development server, but then it has grown in to a fairly healthy internal resource for my colleagues.

I've usually managed to get contributors by cozying up to new starters and giving them the erroneous impression that everyone always uses the wiki for everything. Those first few weeks are wonderful time, because new starters are ideally suited to notice what it is that everyone simply assumes everyone else knows. New starters ask all the right questions to turn this tacit knowledge in to something tangible, then Wisdom is there to hold it.

Rule 2: use animals. That's
got to work.
Wisdom is built using Dokuwiki, a lightweight, database-free wiki engine that I really like, but which I would acknowledge is possibly not the best for our non-technical user profile - for an elearning development team or a group of programmers it would be perfect. However, we are building up a useful body of knowledge and placing my how-to videos and process walk throughs on Wisdom is certainly preferable to using the next alternative which is a Moodle instance. I'd never get anyone to look at anything if I had to use that.

However, while I have a couple of consistent contributors - L* using it to store minutes of meetings and J** steadily building up our equipment requirements for on-site training and so on - it has met with some stubborn resistance. Some team members admit to using it to look stuff up, but kinda laugh at the suggestion they might actually contribute to it.

So I'm turning to a gamification layer to sort this one out. Okay, so my badges are simple and have to be manually added by me, but nonetheless, they are something a bit different to the way we do things, and based on the feedback so far, the novelty may achieve what I'm after - some limited specific engagement, at least long enough to get people over their reluctance to making edits. A couple are specifically targeted at getting people to think wiki, rather than mechanically go through the steps of an edit.

Rule 3: Add an element of wonder
 by using symbols that leave
them scratching their
 heads - this is for "wiki
I'm making the set of badges available here , so if you want some to add to whatever you are doing, help yourself. I have also included the text that I cut and paste on to people's profiles on Dokuwiki. For that to work I simply copied all the images in to the wiki:user media folder (if you don't know what that means you aren't a Dokuwiki user).

I'll let you know how I get on.

* not her real name, obviously
** not his either ***
*** but you probably guessed that

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