MSDN Wiki Projects - #3 - A Huge Responsibility

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When you're in charge of something so large, so easily modified by the public, and so potentially impactful, how do you actually do it?

Accuracy, relevance, usefulness, language, abuse, and more - these are just a few things that might keep you up at night if you're one of the people overseeing a corporate wiki.

At Channel 9, for example, we're on a pretty long leash. The freedom we enjoy in content creation and community activities is astonishing. Along with that freedom, though, comes a lot of responsibility. Anytime we put content online or interact with customers, there's the possibility of really blowing it. Fortunately, we actually do all right, but the concern is always there. It's natural. It has to be.

The situation is even more interesting for wikis. Where Charles and I have control over the content we produce, a wiki takes a lot of the control away from the site owners.

So, what do you do? How do you even begin to think through all the things that could go wrong? What kind of editorial oversight is there? How do you choose what's to be documented? How do other people at Microsoft feel? What legal concerns are there? What's the hardest part about getting a wiki up and running here?

When you aren't responsible for a project like this, it's easy to forget just how much risk is in place, as well as how many technical and editorial issues there are.

This is the third part of the interview, and we tried to address some of these issues. The deeper we went, the more interested and impressed I was. I loved learning about Fabrice and Molly's jobs. There are so many angles to this Microsoft wiki stuff that I would have been happy to have talked to them for many hours more.

Such a unique and delightful challenge...

The Series:

- Video #1: Saying Hello

- Video #2: How and Why

- Video #3: A Huge Responsibility

- Video #4 (last): Internationalization


Community, MSDN, Wikis



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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    It occurred to me only recently that the Wiki approach might be an effective way to document, at the level of detail necessary, all of the APIs and operational and configuration aspects of Microsoft products.  It does not seem reasonable to expect the corporate behemoth to undertake the task alone.  Naturally, such a Wiki would need to be closely monitored, as Wikipedia is, to limit the amount of damage done by vandals and the ill-informed.

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