Tuesday Rant XVIII

by pieterh on 24 Nov 2009 09:33

Eighteen Tuesdays later… and we're still ranting. When I began using Wikidot three years ago for the CAPSoff website, I was user number 99. This month we hit 400,000 users. This is like finding a nice little valley, setting up a few tents and a campfire, and three years later, finding that the campsite has turned into a city.

So my rant today is more of a question: how do we make Wikidot.com work for 400,000, or 1M, or 2M, 4M, 8M users? I don't mean in terms of servers, software, bandwidth. Those are simple technical challenges. I mean in terms of social structures, community, and communications.

Wikidot.com is very much a social project as well as a technical or commercial one. Many Wikidot users work in the "cold zone", building their sites without much discussion with other people. But for those who step through the magic door, into the "hot zone" of the Wikidot project, the world changes. It is like seeing the Matrix, the reality inside reality. And the amazing thing is that we're all able to change this reality, just by clicking and typing, thinking, and acting.

The more of us there are in the hot zone, the more exciting, but also the more difficult it gets. We argue about whether to make one massive Community site, or many dedicated microsites. We start dozens, hundreds of experimental projects: is that success, or failure? We develop weird patterns like nested topic trees, but are this useful, or just arcane?

What do you think? Wikidot will reach millions of users. What kinds of structures do you think we need?

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