For a decade, Wikipedia and its sister projects has brought joyful order to knowledge out of what was once a constellation of fansites, narrowly-focused (and soon abandoned) project sites, opposing cliques of academic and religious doctrine, gossip, and online 'zines. Other large-scale efforts at knowledge organization existed before and continue today, but Wikipedia truly managed to help the Internet not suck -- making it comprehensively useful at least in the narrow realm of reference knowledge.
Since then, as a global society we've found other ways to share in the glories of interlinked distributed effort, from Flickr and YouTube to Facebook. But no effort has been as intentionally permanent, universal, and collaborative as Wikipedia, where the number of pages of policy, process, and standards rival the number of major topics and categories.
However we face a great hurdle in the growth of this knowledge-focused community of editors, reviewers, philosophers, reusers, and other readers -- participating in Wikimedia projects is becoming thorny, complex, sometimes frustrating. The original meaning of "quick" editing and the early freedom to experiment is fading. And it is not being replaced with smooth next-generation tools, visualizations, or other interfaces that make standard atoms of paticipation easy.
Messaging, editing, uploading, commenting, and tagging are all becoming harder (with extra process and guidelines), not easier, with time. It's becoming easier to make a change that is deleted, or met with critical comment. And the community's self-image, which once revolved around ways to promote participation and consensus and wikilove, to hold barnraisings across Projects, and to encourage communication in many languages, is being fragmented.
At the same time, many things are getting easier -- there is a tremendous body of scripts and expertise in bulk uploading of images, collaboration with existing archives, posting a set of scans of a primary source into a neatly ordered set of numbered pages, checking and correcting typos, combating standard spam and vandalism, and maintaining interlanguage links between related articles; to mention just a few.
This blog aims to chronicle the joyful aspects of Wiki nature, identifying the most excellent memes from knowledge-focused wikis (from Wikispecies and Wikisource to Wookiepedia and WikiHow). Along the way we will touch on facets of these projects that should be improved to make them awesome... building on what we've learned from the last generation of web design.
Your input is welcome -- we are looking for writers who are fired up about things that they love. Leave a comment if you want to post.