Wiki Markup: What You See is Hard to Do

James Robertson has point out the obvious weakness of wiki tools: Wiki markup has no future:

The lack of WYSIWYG editing is a big barrier to adoption within organisations, and on the wider web. There are only a limited number of users that have the time, skills and inclination to learn wiki markup. It’s a fundamental usability problem, and the spread of wikis will always be niche as long as wiki markup remains.

This is a rather heretical point of view among wiki aficionados, however it is right on the money. If the outcome of using a wiki is to make content creation easy for a distributed group, wiki markup gets in the way of achieving that outcome. Most people can use a WYSIWYG editor if they have used a word processor in the past. This covers most Web users, especially in a corporate environment. Using obscure text code is an unnecessary and anachronistic hurdle to put wiki users through.

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2 thoughts on “Wiki Markup: What You See is Hard to Do

  1. Fortunately, most of the wiki vendors get this, and about the only place I see wiki markup language anymore is on Wikipedia. And I’d advocate for keeping wiki markup language over there. The barriers to entry need to be somewhat high.

  2. James posted a follow-up to his original post with a reader’s comment that migrating wiki-style mark up (even those with a wysiwyg front end) to a traditional CMS can pose conversion challenges that you don’t face with HTML-based content. One more problem with wiki markup from an infrastructure and content re-use standpoint.

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