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This discussion follows what was started in HighResolutionLogos. Aside from the tagline itself, the key term of Collaboration is favored by at least one important member of the core team. smile

-- GrantBow - 22 Jan 2003

Very smart, Grant, to split issues one by one, to have separate page for each topic wink

As somebody stated before, at least for Eastern Europe, term collaboration has negative associations. It was collaborate with occupation forces. I assume there are many other countries which fell under occupation, and might have the same issue.

Another issue I personaly have with term collaboration is: it is way too many syllables. From marketing point of view, I heard, you do not want complex long words.

-- PeterMasiar - 22 Jan 2003

Choosing a tagline that has reasonably positive associations in most countries is important - there are now InternationalisationEnhancements supporting use of TWiki in most languages worldwide, so a tagline that puts people off would be a shame. So I would prefer to use 'teamwork' instead of 'collaboration', which IMO is a word mainly used by IT people not by business people - teamwork also has the advantage of being shorter, as Peter points out.

-- RichardDonkin - 23 Jan 2003

Despite the negative connotations of "collaboration" it's really hard to come up with a good synonym ( see http://thesaurus.reference.com/search?q=collaboration ). Because of this I would also support "teamwork". With all due respect to TakeFive it also helps us make more sense of the name "TWiki". "Teamwork Wiki" has a ring to it, especially in a corporate environment, and is highly descriptive of how we use it.

-- CrawfordCurrie - 23 Jan 2003

I did some searching using a dictonary tool on Linux ( wordinspect, also thanks for the link Crawford) but could not find anything good to replace it with. It is also becoming a common name in use among commercial companies with similarly aimed products like Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange.

The only word that comes close is Teamwork. This would be OK, but I think using TWiki is not really work once you get used to it and it's a knowledge management tool, so it extends beyond the immediate team to the entire company or anyone who's interested in a project. Teamwork in a corporate setting is also an over-used term and people are (justifiably) wary of it since even when it's used it's not REALLY meant honestly in some cases. I think the same applies to cooperating in corporations.

Despite the connotations, collaboration still seems the best choice to me. I hope the core team (other than Richard who already has, thanks Richard) can weigh in on this after BeijingRelease is out the door, as their opinions do count for something.

-- GrantBow - 27 Jan 2003

Not very scientific but Google:collaboration has several business pages first and even Google:collaborator only has one negative use at the bottom of the first page.

I would have thought that the word collaborator would have a stronger and more obvious negative connotations than the word collaboration which to my mind has equal if not more so positive connotations. I agree that the negative connotations are there, but how strong are they? Are we just being politicaly correct? How averse are people to using the word collaboration in Eastern Europe? Is it going to offend people or just be off-putting, or despite it's negative connotations will people understand the intended use?

-- SamHasler - 27 Jan 2003

Good phrasing of the questions (except that we should ask about Western Europe (i.e., France) and the entire world as well) -- let's see what kind of responses we get.

  • Agreed. I only said Eastern Europe because it was mentioned at the start of the topic -- SamHasler

-- RandyKramer - 27 Jan 2003

Answer from Germany: collaboration has a negative connotation. Just checked with a few people here, age-group 30-45, thus not only post-WWII-people. Kollaborateur (collaborator) in everyday-German is s.o. who assisted/helped the German occupation forces in WWII. To prevent this, you'd have to call it co-laboration or CoLaboration - which are plain ugly, still too long etc.

As far as I know, it has the same negative connotation for Dutch.

-- PatrickHansmeier - 28 Jan 2003


Thanks very much for the response!

I wonder if you can carry it any further -- (from above) "I agree that the negative connotations are there, but how strong are they? Are we just being politicaly correct? How averse are people to using the word collaboration in Eastern Europe? Is it going to offend people or just be off-putting, or despite it's negative connotations will people understand the intended use?"

-- RandyKramer - 29 Jan 2003

And is the word collaboration automatically associated with collaborator?

-- SamHasler - 29 Jan 2003

What I can state from having asked a few more people: 'collaboration is what a collaborator does' was how most people reacted, with the negative connotation prevailing. When I tried to introduce a few non-technical people (sales dept.) to (T)Wiki, neither the term 'collaboration tool' nor its direct German translation Kollaborationswerkzeug were helpful in conveying the concept of (T)Wiki. It earned me blunt looks at best ("what else do you expect from sals people?!" smile ), I can speculate only if this was because of the negative connotations or not grasping the meaning in the sense of co-laboration or both. Therefore and given the small statistical sample, I can't state with absolute certainty that people were offended. I think most people I introduced to (T)Wiki regarded the term 'collaboration' as somehow repulsive and that it distracted them from grasping the concept at first. I cannot make any statements for people from Eastern Europe so far, maybe I have the opportunity to meet/ask some in the next few days.

-- PatrickHansmeier - 29 Jan 2003

I was disscussing this with a colleague and he said he'd been talking to one of our Danish colleagues about Lotus Notes, and how the new version is called "Notes with collaboration" and apparently he said that it was an unfortunate name as the Danish translation of collaboration is a "dirty word". However I've since talked to our Danish colleage and he said that he was mostly joking. He said that the English word collaboration is ok as long as it isn't translated and he pointed out that new software words tend to stay in English and don't usualy get translated.

I think we have to ballance this against what GrantBow said above "It is also becoming a common name in use among commercial companies with similarly _aimed products like Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange."_

I did some googling and looked at some of the big players and found the following:

Lotus is now owned by IBM and on IBMs Products and Services thier products are available via a the link text "Groupware - productivity".

It's interesting to look at these sites to see the language they use to describe their products. I think the most relevent words/phrases from these pages are:

  • Groupware (IBM - Lotus)
  • Instant team collaboration (Lotus)
  • Collaborative portal solutions (Lotus)
  • Web-based collaboration systems (Microsoft)
  • Knowledge Management(Microsoft)

-- SamHasler - 29 Jan 2003

I no longer have any reservations about the use of the word collaboration, primarily based on the use of it by the likes of IBM, Lotus, and Microsoft. (We can, so to speak, ride their coattails and if there is any negative reaction they will either overcome it or change their use of terminology. If they stop the use of collaboration, we may be smart to do the same.)

-- RandyKramer - 08 Feb 2003

As mentioned above, I spoke to two (others seem to be on vacation) young people (lower 20ies) from the ex-USSR. Both of non-technical background. Neither could attribute a meaning or connotation to collaboration/Kollaboration (asked for German word, too) at first. One of them knew Kollaborateur when asked and attributed it the 'bad' meaning from above, but did not establish the connection himself. Meanwhile, I was informed that collaboration/Kollaboration are frequently used by music-business-people describing/mentioning projects/songs they did with s.o. else. Therefore, I do not see clear evidence to refrain from the term 'collaboration' in the future.

-- PatrickHansmeier - 12 Feb 2003

The TWikiTagline is now "Collaborate with TWiki", intended to be active and dynamic. See also TWikiLogos.

-- PeterThoeny - 12 Oct 2005

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Topic revision: r22 - 2006-02-15 - PeterThoeny
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