Slashdot: [I]s the whole world going to be using wikis instead of the proprietary dinosaurs like Lotus Notes?
October 29 2004
I received several e-mails and pings about
slashdot thread overnight.
I see a couple of people
it as well. It's prompted
by a BusinessWeek
article about wikis, specifically about Socialtext.
First, I think wikis are a great tool. They are an easy way to share information, and require very little user training, are easy for users to engage in, and demand little IT overhead. I also have a lot of respect for Socialtext. I didn't know a lot of the details behind their organization until I read the BusinessWeek article. It's fascinating that they are a true virtual organization, and that they are making great use of their own technology. I hope they continue to have success in the market, and have enjoyed getting to know their viewpoint through CEO Ross Mayfield's blogging (and use of other tools like del.icio.us, flickr, and writing at Corante's Many2Many).
Still, it seems like every few months, there's an article somewhere that says that some new collaboration technology is going to kill Notes. Long-time readers here know the score...it goes all the way back to Collabra Share, Livelink, eRoom, Groove, everything Microsoft, etc. In most cases, the competing technology is a point solution...it addresses one piece of what Lotus Notes does. Thus, none has been that proverbial "Notes killer". Just for fun, I googled a few expressions like "unlike Lotus Notes", just to see how many of those competitors were out there. Some of the hits were amusing, others showed how far Notes has come, and a few showed that even today, companies continue to try to figure out how to work a little bit of Notes magic into their own product lines.
In this case, the community has made the comparison of Notes "versus" wikis irrelevant. Like so many other modern technologies, Notes (and Domino) have provided a foundation and architecture for adopting the new collaborative technology. We have blogs and RSS feeds being published on Domino. We have RSS newsreaders for Notes. And yes, we have wikis for Domino (such as BenPoole's wiki).
Now, as for the slashdot discussion. I wasted a good 30 minutes reading the whole darn thing this morning. Aside - I don't normally read slashdot discussions, because I find the navigation so cumbersome. They also have evolved in such a way that the first responses to a discussion thread tend to get the most responses...when you get further down, the energy and furor starts to peter out. Anyway, some interesting observations -- 1) I could have bet $50 that someone would mention the "User interface hall of shame" entry on Notes... but at least this time, someone else rightly pointed out that it was written on Notes 4.6 and hasn't been updated in five years (in fact, the company that originally created the UI hall of shame dot bombed! and the site that still lives on is a mirror of the original). Also, unusual for a slashdot discussion, there seem to be a fair number of people on side of balance -- defending and advocating for Notes. But most point out that the comparison, as I said above, is silly and irrelevant. Which is good.
What's really funny to me is that somewhere else in the discussion, someone says that "wikis are dead". LOL -- I guess there's one in every crowd.