In my view, Web 2.0 means a more “drafty” outlook to design. By “drafty” I mean that the content on many blogs, wikis, and other social-software-like content is in a permanent state of “2nd draft.”
Adding an entry to wikipedia, for example, is an exercise in understanding what may be compromised. Writing a full-fledged encyclopedia entry, only to have it altered and re-checked involves a certain degree of self-censorship that is not really something for me. All that research only to have someone else edit and/or change things. That’s why my participation so far has just been to edit minor bits.
The same can be said about blog writing. I usually do a brief, but not extensive, grammar check when I finish my first draft — but then it goes up. This is probably a mistake on my part, since spelling and grammar mistakes do make a person look a little unprofessional. But, even socially, I can get stuck using the wrong wording for things. Most of the time, I am forgiven these tresspasses.
But, the “draftiness” goes beyond typos and grammar. With a blog, I feel like I am exploring a topic rather than studying it intensely. I am more shooting at hypotheses than I am being a systematic studier.
There are consequences to this behavior. If I am “shooting at hypotheses” when will someone do the science needed to test my crazy ideas? And with the gazillion other hypotheses out there, is there any chance of this happening? Do blogs and wikis imply that consensus beats out science, and if so, is anyone concerned about the imperialism inherent in this view? Would Galileo have survived in a Web 2.0 world?
I did have someone suggest that the MavenStudies wiki requires more polish. My response was “hey, it’s a wiki — if you think it needs polish, polish it!”
But I wonder if “world out there” (WOT) really wants to polish in the long run. Wikipedia suggests that there are “communities of polish” for collaborative products. But is there a critical mass of these folks in the online world? Is everyone destined for the collaborative web or will a certain (large) percentage always treat Web 2.0 as Web 1.0?
I think these are the big questions in this world right now. I hope there are commenters out there who can solve this one for me.