"The problem is not access controls!"

5 Jan

Sometimes I get a funny reaction when I talk about PBwiki to people:

“But…what about access controls? Who controls the content?”

Our response is always the same: “The problem is not access controls! The real problem is figuring out how to get people to contribute to a community.”

Whenever I start a PBwiki, my biggest challenge is simple: getting people to contribute valuable content. Only once, after I had lots of people adding to a rich community, did I start to worry about access controls.

To be fair, we know access controls are important. Our business users care because they want to make sure their data is safe and secure. Our educational users care because they want to protect their students and monitor what goes on. For them, we’ve built features like the ability to easily track revisions and to revert back to an older version of the page. They can also get notified of every change by RSS or email.

But I see sharing and openness as the core benefit of a PBwiki. The upside, in other words, is greater than the downside, and when you get lots of great people to contribute to your wiki, serendipitous things can happen that are almost always good. To that end, we’ve made it easier to share your wiki (now, after your first successful edit, you’ll see a little text box that asks you if you’d like to share your wiki with others). Coming up, we’ll be making it easier to share with your existing contacts by importing friends from your address book (and other places), and we’ll let you see exactly who’s made what change in a more intuitive way.

Stay tuned. And if you have any stories or feedback about sharing your PBwiki, we’d love to hear it.

-Ramit from the PBwiki Team

63 Responses to “"The problem is not access controls!"”

  1. WilkieMon January 20, 2007 at 9:25 am #

    Well said, Ramit. I would love to have access control be a problem! Building a community of contributors is definitely the far bigger challenge.

    BTW, those still concerned about access control should see Tip #5 of Jason’s January 12 post — good advice: http://pbwiki.com/blog/?p=44

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Daily Peanut » Blog Archive » Best practices for building a collaborative wiki - September 12, 2007

    [...] logging in as easy as possible. The problem is not access controls – it’s creating something compelling enough to get people to contribute to your [...]

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