Personally, when I’m doing wiki editing, I like the wiki markup language. I find that I can edit things faster by typing than by looking around for which button to press, how many times to press it and then going back to typing. It is easier for me to type ‘—‘ than to have to highlight text and press the indent button over a few times. I do the same thing when editing WordPress.
Apparently, I’m not alone in this. Aside from having one of the funniest graphics I’ve seen in a long time (above), Martin Koser has a good post today in which he debates the merits of wiki markup language and why WYSIWYG shouldn’t be a barrier to adoption.
While I agree with many of his points, from a sales standpoint, this is still a major obstacle. Especially:
So the argument that adoption hinges on the existence of a WYSIWYG editor is flawed – wiki markup can be easily explained and adding some coaching efforts to an implementation project doesn’t hurt, explaining the rationale behind wiki usage etc. I have had decent successes with 15 minute short introductions, followed by “train the (peer) trainer” coachings, after all editing wiki markup editing is neither programming nor rocket science.
People, for whatever reason, expect their wiki to work like Word or at least Outlook. This may be, as the comments suggest, a nice way of saying ‘not interested’, but I think that in the corporate world, where applications try to be all things to all people (see above graphic), that jamming a bunch of stuff into an application may in fact help adoption.
It is well documented that people only use 10% of Word, but perhaps it is just more comforting to see this level of functionality. Instead of comparing wikis (or other WYSIWYG editors) to Word, perhaps it is time to start to compare them to Outlook.
After all, isn’t this the method of collaboration that we are trying to replace?