Wiki Home

Problems With Thread Mode

Namespace: Wiki
Largely taken from a similar topic on the Wiki Wiki Web at
Here are some of the problems with Thread Mode:
  • Signatures inhibit editing. Many people don't like to mess with text owned by someone else.
  • Writing in first person inhibits editing. If you write, "I did X", someone else can't just append "and Y" because you didn't do Y.
  • It leads to contributions which can only be understood in the context of the thread. This also inhibits editing. An answer needs its question, a particular emphasis makes sense only as a counterbalance to a different emphasis in an earlier comment. It becomes hard to extract meaning from the thread.
  • It leads people to read only the changes since last time they read, which typically are at the bottom of the page. They rarely reread the whole page, so they don't develop a holistic view. They just comment to the last thing that was said. They don't consider their contributions from the point of view of the whole page. This leads to meandering threads and pointless arguments.

    Many of the good things about Thread Mode are really bad, shallow.

  • Signatures glorify the ego.
  • It is less work to append a comment than to refactor. Thread Mode appeals to lazy/busy people.
  • It is less work to read just the new comments. Again this appeals to the lazy. Further, it is an advantage only to frequent visitors. Newcomers reading the page for the first time have to read the whole thing.
  • It preserves and emphasises the trivial. Who said what and in which order are of no lasting significance.
    Signatures introduce a whole bunch of issues that are to do with personality and self, and that many of these are "bad". Often they involve fear - fear of treading on other people's toes on the one side, and fear of not getting credit for one's ideas on the other. The fear gets in the way. It is focused on things which are not important, cosmically speaking. You can learn to let go. It won't actually kill you.
    Conclusion: The original authors of a wiki topic that goes into Thread Mode need to be more proactive in cleaning it up later and, if appropriate, steering towards Document Mode.
    Category Wiki
  • ( Topic last updated: 1999.07.16 01:41:47 PM )