A Helping Hand

It has been said that social networking sites allows for people to share, give and take information provided by other users. For example, you post a question to a problem and (possibly) you will get a response back from the online community. Regardless if the responses are relevant or not, the point is that an online community can be ‘self-sufficient.’

What I mean is that the community can regulate itself within an online space. This brings us onto ‘wikis.’ We’ve all heard of wikipedia; wikis are more specific wikipedia for more specific topics. I would know because I have used wikis when it came to looking at video games (Halo, Team Fortress 2, The Eldar Scrolls series to name a few). Believe me, there are sites like these out there.

Most importantly, they are created and maintained by the online community. Users write and compose articles whilst others edit and manage the site itself. You notice how wikipedia has an edit function? Every piece of information was from a user(s). ‘…although discussing, leveraging, and creating ties between novices and a community of practice can be beneficial for novices, it should also benefit the community of practice. The community of practice should benefit from the contributions made by the novices and, indirectly, from the greater ties and connections that are established with its potential future members…also benefits from the greater, and stronger, ties it may create with a broader sociocultural environment’ (Zagal and Bruckman, 2010: 21).

Essentially, wikis work live a hive. As mentioned by Zagal and Bruckman, each user gives something to the wiki entry, and at the same time the wiki itself benefits from this collaboration and relationship. The more its worked on, the more it can flourish. This is what I called self-sufficient at the beginning. The more dedicated users are, the more extensive the wiki can become.
Using the Halo example, the site has over 8,131 articles since June 2005. Each and every one has been uploaded by a member. The site is very extensive, going into much detail about each game detail, novel and comic of the series. Of course, this will benefit people interested in Halo, yet this demonstrates how ‘novices’ can easily interact with the ‘community of practice,’ and how the community of practice can benefit from novice input.
To see the Halo site for yourself: http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
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