Enjoying dogfood

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I guess the blog's title is a metaphor gone awry... well, whatever. About two years ago at Semantic Karlsruhe (that is people into semantic technologies at AIFB, FZI, and ontoprise) we installed a wiki to support the internal knowledge management of our group. It was well received and used. We also have an annual survey about a lot of stuff within our group, to see where we can improve. So last year we found out, that the wiki was received OK. Some were happy, some were not, nothing special.

We switched to a Semantic MediaWiki since last year, which was a labourous step. But it seems to have payed off: recently we had our new survey. The scale goes from very satisfied (56%) over satisfied (32%) and neutral (12%) to unsatisfied (0%) and very unsatisfied (0%).

You can tell I was very happy with these results -- and quite surprised. I am not sure, how much the semantics made the difference, or maybe we did more "gardening" on the wiki since we felt more connected to it, and gardening cannot be underestimated, both in importance and resources. In this vein, very special thanks to our gardeners!

One problem a very active gardener pointed out not long ago was that gardening gets hardly appreciated. How do other small-scale or intranet wiki tackle this problem? Well, in Wikipedia we have the barnstars, and related cool stuff -- but that is basically working because we have an online community and online gratification is OK for that (or do I misunderstand the situation here? I am not a social scientist). But how to translate that to an actually offline community that has some online extensions like in our case?

Originally published on Semantic Nodix

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