This is the place for thinking about the project we're engaged in together at OrthodoxWiki.
Can a wiki be Orthodox? Can Orthodoxy be wikified?
We received the first major objection to our project today (March 28, 2005):
- For true Orthodox Christians, this is a very dangerous web site. Any nut case or schismatic can edit the material herein and change meanings, change teachings of the True Church, etc. For serious students of Orthodoxy, this site should be avoided...shunned. The teachings of the Holy Church are not subject to willy-nilly editing.
- Al Green
- Orthodox church and bible Study Links
I invited Al to visit and asked him if he might be willing to share some of the fine work he has done on his website. He voices some common concerns about wikis. I do think it can be difficult for people to grasp the wiki concept right away - it can seem counterintuitive at first. One site I'd recommend, along with its links, is UseMod:WhyWikiWorks. Does anyone else want to say something about this? Fr. John
Interesting discussion of the whole WikiPedia concept
Just ran across an interesting discussion of the whole WikiPedia concept started by an OpEd piece by one of its co-founders, Larry Sanger. Sanger's article and the ensuing discussion can be found here.
- Yep, that's interesting. It's definitely worth thinking through these things a little bit. Regarding the concerns brought up in that article, I suspect we have an advantage in that, even if this site takes off wonderfully, we will still be a small community limited in scope, with recognizable "experts" in church life. I think also the sysops/moderators should have a broad enough knowledge of Orthodox matters to be able to tell if something is really off base. Also, we can be stricter in dealing with trolls (although that can certainly be a challenge on an open site like this one). I'd love to hear more about your thoughts on this article with regard to OrthodoxWiki (and perhaps you'd want to login or otherwise identify yourself). Thanks, FrJohn 22:36, 20 Jan 2005 (CST)
- It occurs to me that, aside from what FrJohn says here (with which I thoroughly agree), the Orthodox Church is by its nature in some ways already prepared in terms of its phronema to embark on a project like OrthodoxWiki. The whole Church is the guardian of the truth, after all, and we are essentially trying to submit ourselves to the public proclamation of the Gospel, not become researchers in obscure academic fields. Thus, while there are certainly things that are good for specialists and experts to work on for OrthodoxWiki, the real meat of our content is something that we should already in many ways have a consensus on.
- The other thing that occurs to me is that it's unlikely that OrthodoxWiki would get infected with anti-elitism. The Orthodox Church is hierarchical, and respect and obedience toward authority are a standard, normal part of our Church life. --Rdr. Andrew 06:13, 21 Jan 2005 (CST)
- One problem with relying on "experts" is our experts are often already wearing too many hats. Some who qualify for that title have already participated and I hope, especially with time, many more will. Of course, the rest of us can happily draw from "experts" in our articles. I think it's great that anyone can contribute. And sometimes, folks who are not "experts" have a great deal more time to delve into the specifics or something, and the rest of us can benefit from that work and knowledge.
- I'm also excited by this OrthodoxWiki project because I think there are still so many things that are oral tradition in the Orthodox Church. I'm not saying that should change, except that by getting some of that down in an organized and written form, it will be accessible to so many more people. Mostly, I think this is for the good - especially when Church life is undergoing tremendous changes across the globe (due to globalization or whatever you want to call it) and there is also an influx of converts who are just learning the ropes. - FrJohn 15:08, 21 Jan 2005 (CST)
Knowledge Management / Communities of Practice
Over time, I think it would be great to broader the concerns introduced by the article above into a more general discussion of the nature, character, and potential of "communities of practice" within Orthodox Church life -- I mean especially the use of emerging technologies for collaborative efforts at knowledge management at the service of the Orthodox Church.
There are many resources on "communities of practice" and "knowledge management" available online and in print. A couple books I've found helpful and thought-provoking include Communities of Practice by Etienne Wengner (ISBN 1578513308) and The Knowledge Landscapes of Cyberspace by David Hakken (ISBN 0415945097).
I think it's a good time to think big and brainstorm about possibilities for the future, e.g. what effect might semantic technologies have on Orthodox KM? I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this (here or at OrthodoxWeb Dev).