How Do I Get People to Write in the Same Style?

  • Posted on: 15 May 2011
  • By: admin

I have a bunch of people using my wiki, but it’s making it really rough. How can I get all these people to write the same way?

On one hand, you can’t. On the other hand, as the text comes together, new contributors may pick up on the existing style and begin to adopt it. Other contributors may notice the places where the styles don’t match, and over time, the text may self-correct. Even though the purpose and structure of wikis prevents you from having complete control over the text, you can edit the contributions where needed to improve coherence and consistency.

Some wikis are entirely open, in which case, you are giving up control as an author, but other wikis are set up with more editorial control. You’ll have to decide which best meets the needs for your project. Let the standards evolve organically if you can, then apply them retroactively to existing pages.

Whatever you do, don’t make a bunch of complex rules before the wiki takes root. Doing that will only scare off potential contributors who will be worried they might accidentally break a rule or misunderstand something. Remember, you want to make your wiki a friendly, welcoming place. If you come off as stern and quick to criticize or enforce your policy, you may intimidate the very people who would help you the most.

A so-so wiki with lots of content and participation is better than a really awesome ghost wiki.