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Newsgroup vs. Wiki Collaboration

There are pros and cons for newsgroups and Wiki systems. Let me try; feel free to add directly to this list or to challenge it. We can learn from these lessons and improve TWiki accordingly.

  • Newsgroup Pluses
    • Simple to use once setup.
    • Looks and feels like e-mail.
    • Messages are threaded.

  • Newsgroup Minuses
    • Can't cross-link postings. Actually you can do that with most clients by a drag & drop operation, but most people don't know / don't bother.
    • Can't change a posting once sent. Many times it makes sense to fix some existing text after a topic has been discussed / clarified.
    • Each posting is a seperate message, you need to click-click-click through the messages to get the big picture.
    • Users rarly change the subject, so all the treaded messages tend to be Re: Something over and over again. You have to click on each message to see if there is something that interests you.
    • The discussion often wanters to different topics, so the subject does not reflect the message.
    • Content usually expires after some time (though it can be configured to never forget)
    • Only text based, HTML messages are not used and usually not welcomed.

  • Wiki System Pluses
    • All relevant content is on one page, you only need to scroll, no click-click-click operation to read a topic.
    • Good context of content. This is because WikiWords foster cross-linking of topics.
    • A discussion that wanders off-topic usually results in a new page that is linked from the old one.
    • Fixing existing text is possible and encourraged.
    • Rich text that include graphics is possible (I don't mean the M$ stuff, what I mean is bold, italic and so on).

  • Wiki System Minuses
    • First learning step, user needs to grasp that linking is based on WikiTopics.
    • Need to edit the page to add content, would be more intuitive to add text to an existing paragraph.
    • No automatic signature / date when adding content to an existing topic.

-- PeterThoeny - 26 Jan 2001

Would an AddToTopic feature make a wiki more newsgroup-like?

-- KristopherJohnson - 12 Apr 2001

A bit late, but see CommentPlugin for an implementation of AddToTopic.

Also, I created a NewsGroups page before realising this page existed... Your set of pro's and con's is much better!

-- RichardDonkin - 14 Feb 2002

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Topic revision: r3 - 2002-02-14 - RichardDonkin
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