Learning from Wikipedia: Open Collaboration within Corporations

Wikipedia is the free online encyclopedia that has taken the Internet by storm. It is written and administered solely by volunteers. How exactly did this come about and how does it work? Can it keep working? And maybe more importantly, can you transfer its practices to the workplace to achieve similar levels of dedication and quality of work? In this presentation I describe the structure, processes and governance of Wikipedia and discuss how some of its practices can be transferred to the corporate context.

This presentation represents the next step in the evolution of two Wikimania tutorials/workshops, see Presentations/Tutorials. If the slideshow doesn’t play, please use the PDF file download below.

[slideshare id=585293&doc=learningfromwikipedia-1220696606582931-9]

Reference: Dirk Riehle. “Learning from Wikipedia: Open Collaboration within Corporations.” Invited talk at Talk the Future 2008. Krems, Austria: 2008.

The slides are available as a PDF file.

A Grammar for Standardized Wiki Markup

Authors: Martin Junghans, Dirk Riehle, Rama Gurram, Matthias Kaiser, Mário Lopes, Umit Yalcinalp

Abstract: Today’s wiki engines are not interoperable. The rendering engine is tied to the processing tools which are tied to the wiki editors. This is an unfortunate consequence of the lack of rigorously specified standards. This paper discusses an EBNF-based grammar for Wiki Creole 1.0, a community standard for wiki markup, and demonstrates its benefits. Wiki Creole is being specified using prose, so our grammar revealed several categories of ambiguities, showing the value of a more formal approach to wiki markup specification. The formalization of Wiki Creole using a grammar shows performance problems that today’s regular-expression-based wiki parsers might face when scaling up. We present an implementation of a wiki markup parser and demonstrate our test cases for validating Wiki Creole parsers. We view the work presented in this paper as an important step towards decoupling wiki rendering engines from processing tools and from editing tools by means of a precise and complete wiki markup specification. This decoupling layer will then allow innovation on these different parts to proceed independently and as is expected at a faster pace than before.

Reference: In Proceedings of the 2008 International Symposium on Wikis (WikiSym ’08). ACM Press, 2008: Article No. 21.

Available as a PDF file.

Bringing Wikipedia to Work: Open Collaboration within Corporations

This upcoming Wikimania 2008 tutorial discusses the three principles of “open collaboration” which I believe are underlying wikis, open source, and other forms of peer production. It is a follow-up to last year’s tutorial about open collaboration at Wikimania 2007.

If the slideshow doesn’t play, please use the PDF file download below.

[slideshare id=437792&doc=opencollaboration-1212166751781014-9]

Reference: Dirk Riehle. “Bringing Wikipedia to Work: Open Collaboration in Corporations.” In Proceedings of Wikimania 2008, forthcoming.

Also available as a PDF file.

Wiki Creole Grammar, Schema, Transformations Made Available

For wiki research purposes as well as the Wiki Creole community‘s convenience, we are making our EBNF grammar, the XML schema definition, and the to/from XML transformations available. You can use these specifications to create your own wiki parsers (using parser generators) as well as use standard technology (DOM, XSLT) to work with wiki pages and display or save them.

For more, see the dedicated wiki-creole page.

An XML Interchange Format for Wiki Creole 1.0

Abstract: Wikis have become an important application on the web and in the enterprise, yet there are no interoperability standards between different wiki engines. We present the first complete XML representation format of Wiki Creole 1.0. Wiki Creole is a community standard for wiki markup, the language used to write wiki pages. This report presents the complete XML representation format using a validating XML schema. In addition we present XSLT definitions for transforming the XML representations to XHTML on the one hand and for transforming the XML representations to Wiki Creole markup on the other hand. Our work shows how using XML technologies we can make wiki interchange, wiki upgrading, and wiki conversion independent from a specific wiki engine implementation.

Reference: Martin Junghans, Dirk Riehle, Umit Yalcinalp. In ACM SIGWEB Newsletter, Volume 2007, Issue Winter (Winter 2007), Article No. 5. ACM Press, 2007.

Available as a PDF file.

An EBNF Grammar for Wiki Creole 1.0

Abstract: Today’s wiki engines are not interoperable. This is an unfortunate consequence of the lack of rigorously specified standards. This technical report presents a complete and validated EBNF-based grammar for Wiki Creole, a community standard for wiki markup. Wiki Creole is also the only standard currently available. Wiki Creole is being specified using prose, leading to inconsistencies and ambiguities. Our grammar uncovered those ambiguities which we fed back into the specification process. The Wiki Creole grammar presented in this report makes the creation of Wiki Creole parsers simple using parser generators, ANTLR in our case. Using a precise specification of wiki markup lets us decouple wiki editors from wiki storage from further wiki processing tools. Based on this decoupling layer we expect innovation on these different parts to proceed independently and at a faster pace than before.

Reference: Martin Junghans, Dirk Riehle, Rama Gurram, Matthias Kaiser, Mario Lopes, Umit Yalcinalp. In ACM SIGWEB Newsletter, Volume 2007, Issue Winter (Winter 2007), Article No. 4. ACM Press, 2007.

Available as a PDF file.