Laying Down The Law

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Wiki pages often assume a declarative or even commanding tone, and entire sections of some successful wikis can come to seem like lists of commandments.

In part, this may arise by chance. The original Wiki was dedicated to pattern languages in softwaI _n terns are often discussed as commands to be obeyed in appropriate circumstances. In time, Extreme Programming became a hot topic on this Wiki as well, and Extreme Programming (like other methodologies) often adopts the rhetoric of command.

In part, LayingDownTheLaw might also arise because Wiki words tend to be noun phrases and commands. Working English verbs into a WikiWord can be tricky, and leads to more use of commands than is common in colloquial usage -- especially in the informal usage that Wiki traditionally prefers. (-- MarkBernstein)

Because pages of a Wiki seem to assume compilation (as mentioned in the StyleGuide), I feel hesitant in writing a comment to a page. I feel confident in changing it if I see an error, or extending it, maybe even editing it further, but the system seems to encourage me to write objectively and almost anonymously rather than commenting in my own voice. What if someone else edits my comment? Are these my words? Though a Wiki may be constantly a work in progress, process, no one can see when I wrote these words, or whether I've changed my mind since writing them. (-- JillWalker)

The original Wiki has a stated preference for DocumentMode over ThreadMode; discussions may occur (like this), but it is considered better (where practical) to write exposition rather than dialog. People also edit in ThreadMode -- both to fix mistakes and to clarify an argument. For example, I added the signature link to your comment. (-- MarkBernstein)

Another thing that we have consistently done when adding coments, suggestions or questions is provide a date: CarolTucker 7Jul02

-- Last edited October 27, 2002

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