Why have a personal wiki?


I find writing too hard to want to spend it on things that disappear

– Martin Fowler (What is a Bliki)

At first my reasons were very similar to Nick's reasons:

  • writing my thoughts publically makes me write them a bit more carefully
  • my thoughts are fuzzy and vague in my head, they become more real outside it (and may self desctruct in a cloud of stupidity)
  • it provokes debate, which helps me refine the arguments: 1+n minds are better than 1
  • I think I have something to say (we'll find out right?)
  • I get sad at the state of debate in the world
    • news and media normally tell gossipy stories about anything but the underlying topic
    • in-person debate usually veers dramatically off-course and debates a well-worn set of less interesting topics instead
    • blogs or "point-in-time" publishing systems don't produce an always-up-to-date sof thoughts

I think my reasons have changed slightly over time - my wiki has become perhaps more a way for personal notetaking, for shaping my thoughts, with less emphasis on the debate straight away.

The social part is definitely important though because I want to learn through discussion. Don't just want to be typing into the void, in dialectic only with myself. The stream is perhaps more for that - networked learning, connectivism.

But is that its own thing? I guess so. You could technically have an entirely private stream and garden, if you wanted. So making it public is more for the networked learning aspect?

Combined, the blog/wiki combo helps me think more about what I learn (through wiki-ing it) and learn more about what I think (through conversations on the stream), I'm really digging it.

I think we need to better foster that though in our social software - currently it feels optimised for aggro. If you say a wrong thing, make a mistake, you're more likely to be piled on rather than helpfully educated.

I have found it has aided massively in helping me form ideas. I've built up enough mass to have gravitational pull for other ideas now. New articles I encounter, things people post, I feel like I'm in a good place to relate it to what I already have thought about.

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