The “Quick Web” for Technical Documentation

STC Intercom article “The Quick Web for Technical Documentation”

I’m happy to report that my article about using wikis for technical documentation was published last week in the STC Intercom.

A PDF my article is available for anyone to download, STC member or STC non-members alike.

I’ll be giving a presentation about wikis for technical documentnation to the STC Austin community on Tuesday November 6th at the Commons Center, which is located at 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758, near the southwest corner of Burnet Road and Braker Lane on the University of Texas J. J. Pickle Research Campus. Map

If you’d like to see what else I’ve written about wikis, take a look at the articles in my wiki category, or check out this list from my blog.

So many people helped me with the Intercom article. Kelly Holcomb is an excellent editor and helped me with it in her small amounts of spare time. Emily Kaplan read an early copy and also helped me sort through my notes. Michael Cote has sent me interesting items about wikis that he has found and also constantly tags useful information in Diane Fleming was investigating wikis on her own, asked me about them, and then gave me great feedback on an early copy of the article. Tom Johnson was extremely positive when he first read it as well. I spoke with Dee Elling who had two excellent experiences to talk about in her interview with me. Harry Miller had a podcast interview with Molly Bostic, the PM on the MSDN wiki team, that was very informative.

It takes a community to write about online communities. Thanks, everyone!


  • October 5, 2007 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Anne, this is a great article. You mention the potential problem with having random people make changes. It seems that these Wiki changes could be monitored by a documentation owner via email or some other method.

  • October 6, 2007 - 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi Mike, thanks!

    Yes, people can certainly use levels of logins and permissions on nearly all wiki platforms – and you would want to have someone monitor the wiki to maintain it and keep the content high-quality. What I found is that no one I interviewed had actual “graffiti” problems (well, other than spam), but genuine contributors would get upset when a re-write wasn’t as accurate as the original writer had hoped for (meaning someone changed their content, thinking his was more “right” than the first.) In that type of situation, you need arbitration, but I didn’t even touch on that in this article.

    I think that some people have perception of all wikis being the “wild wild west” environment, but there are ways to ensure that no one gets shot and that a local sheriff is available if needed. 🙂

  • October 7, 2007 - 8:42 am | Permalink

    Great article. I’m in the midst of preparing my preparation for the TICAD conference and some of your points mirror my thoughts and experiences.

  • October 7, 2007 - 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Congrats on the publication of the article.

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