Thursday, June 23, 2011


The claim on this Webpage is that in wikis "we start using page titles as replacements for whole ideas, allowing readers to 'drill down' to the core of all the important concepts, building a LinkLanguage as we build the site.” Thus "People writing a wiki often evolve a 'Link Language:' a fluent language wherein special words automatically link to definitions of their meaning."

An interesting idea, but does it capture what is important about linking? The second claim is certainly problematic. Wikis involve semantics, this seems to reduce them to semantic connections. A "LinkLanguage" is a nice piece of jargon. One might perhaps go so far as to say that it reduces wikis themselves to jargon.[1]

Thanks to this post by Edward Vielmetti who tries (but to mymind fails) to make sense of these claims.


Edward Vielmetti said...

Thanks for the note.

Wikis often have many types of pages, and only some of them are going to be end points for a "Link language" style link. Imagine that any group working on a project is going to accumulate some kind of project-specific language that would be good for easy linking to.

The argument starts to break down as soon as you get more content in the wiki - imagine that everything of substance that's link worthy gets its own page - full of words that in turn need exposition. You could waste a lot of time just defining terms.

MK said...

Thanks for the clarification.

My view is probably a bit perverted by the fact that I hardly ever use a communal wiki, but restrict myself to a personal wiki.

Also this: I have enjoyed your blog very much over the years.