by user Tomsimonite
While one wiki has become a major feature of modern life, experiments with the medium are still continuing.
One is the "wiki novel" started by established, conventional book publisher Penguin. Amillionpenguins is fascinating, chaotic and often perplexing for the editor appointed to oversee it. Here's a recent extract from the editor's blog :
"I, your miserable and long suffering editor, admit to feeling completely at odds with the novel as it stands...I’ve found the best way to approach amillionpenguins is to sample it basically at random."
My colleague Will pointed out that it's a little reminiscent of William Burroughs' novels - I agree. Burroughs was a fan of the ' cut-up technique ' where a finished manuscript was cut into pieces and shuffled. Onemillionpenguins is a bit like that in reverse - contributors seem to be adding in their own disconnected snippets to make a confusing whole.
I think the best way to experience it is to embrace the change - I'll be checking back to see how it evolves over time. I think that will be more interesting than sitting down with the 'finished' text.
In other wiki news, wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has launched three wiki magazines - on politics, entertainment and local issues. They only got started two days ago but a lot of articles have been added. Contributions so far are generally short though - and aren't really being edited by the community. People seem far more interested in commenting on the articles.
Perhaps a more community-led style will emerge over time. I think wiki magazines have a lot of potential - regular ones are a kind of collaborative product anyway. The wiki novel won't fare so well, I fear. The existence and identity of a single author is too central to the construction and form of such works.
Tom Simonite - online technology reporter, www.newscientist.com