An interesting perspective on wiki use

After five months of trying (long story there), I finally managed to get to a session of Toronto Wiki Tuesdays. While I missed what sounded like a few interesting sessions in the past, the one I went to earlier this week was well worth sacrificing a few hours of my evening to attend.

This time around, the presenter was Keith Robinson, supervising editor at TV Ontario (TVO, the province’s public educational broadcaster). Robinson works on a daily public affairs show called The Agenda, and earlier this year the folks behind the show decided to do something a bit different: AgendaCamp.

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Comment moderation

Yes, that’s something we do in this space. So, why do we do it? There are some people out there who think it’s because we want to vet the comments that people leave on our posts. Sorry, wrong guess. Please try to keep your knees from jerking in the future.

The actual reason is two words, 11 letters: comment spam. We get a lot of it.

We use the Akismet plugin for WordPress (and various other blog engines), which catches a lot of comment spam. But some always creeps through. Sometimes, more than just some. We’d rather spend a few seconds bulk approving comments rather than spending longer hunting through comments to find ones about cut-price pharmaceuticals, enhancement products, cheap insurance, low-cost flowers, and the like. We’ve got little free time as it is, and have better ways of spending it than trying to elmininate spam.

The good news is that once a comment is approved, future comments on an old or new post won’t need to be moderated. Generally … Sometimes, it doesn’t work that way. Technology be fickle now and again.

You might be asking whether or not we’ve deleted comments that haven’t been spam. Nope. Never. Haven’t even edited a comment. And we don’t plan to, unless that comment is abuses another commenter. We don’t care about people abusing us; it’s happened in the past and will happen in the future.

Some folks might find our stance on comment moderation annoying or distateful. Know that we’re not trying to censor, to show favouritism, or to shut people up. That said, we try to approve comments as quickly as possible. The other things in our lives can get in the way, though. So please be patient.

If you have an opinion about this, feel free to leave a comment. Just remember that your comment might have to be approved first …

News, housekeeping, whatever you want to call it …

Things are pretty busy at the Home Firm right now. Client commitments, personal commitments, side projects, and the like. Busy doesn’t come close to describing what’s happening at the moment. Which means things could be a bit slow when in comes to blogging in this space.

That’s one of the changes happening here. We’re going to experiment with posting three days a week — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Along with our regular links roundup on Saturdays. Most Saturdays, anyway. When we make the change (starting next week), let us know what you think of the new editorial calendar.

Scott’s writeup of this month’s Toronto Wiki Tuesdays MeetUp will be posted later this week as well. If you’re interested in some of Scott’s thoughts, you can read his (lame) attempt at live microblogging here.

Toronto Wiki Tuesdays

Last autumn, I received an interesting email from a couple of wiki consultants who’d seen the slides I’d posted at Slideshare for my presentation at DocTrain East.

What I found most interesting was that one of the messages that we exchanged mentioned a monthly event called Toronto Wiki Tuesdays. It’s a group of wiki enthusiasts, obviously, who get together to hear someone speak about how they use wikis in a professional setting.

The topics always seemed interesting, but the timing … well, let’s just say it wasn’t the best. My Tuesday evenings were always booked, and I missed some interesting talks .

Finally, I’ve got a free Tuesday evening. Which just happens to coincide with the next Wiki Tuesday (April 14, 2009). Maybe timing is everything, because this session looks to be one of the most interesting yet. It’s on how public broadcaster TV Ontario used a wiki to:

… plan the events, engage participant interaction through, during and after the events and how the wiki became pivotal for both production and Agenda Camp outcome purposes.

If you’re a wiki enthusiast based in Toronto, you should check out Toronto Wiki Tuesdays. I’ll be posting a report of this event later this week, and perhaps live microgblogging using my BlackBerry.

Using Twitter in your business

Twitter (and microblogging in general) is one of those activities that’s really polarizing. Legions of people love it — it’s blogging, with immediacy. Others despise it — it’s trivial and narcissistic, and just adds the the static of the Internet.

I sit somewhere in between. While I’m a fairly active microblogger, I tend to focus more on sharing information than telling people what I’m up to. Let’s face it, no one cares that I’m about to make some muffins for my daughter …

Still, many individuals and companies have used and do use Twitter as part of their business. Some use it for networking. Others use it for product announcements, to generate buzz, or to promote a blog post or speaking gig. Actually, there are a lot of ways that businesses can use Twitter.

That’s where this article (and this one) come in. They offer a total of 54 ideas that your company — even if it’s a company of one or two — can use Twitter for business. They even got a microblogging skeptic like me thinking!