Tumblr for Wiki

In this article we explore the idea that the solutions of federated wiki combined with some of the metaphors of Tumblr could produce a pleasantly addictive experience that would change the world. We're not as far off from this revolution as we think.

People mention that Federated Wiki, with its forking-based architecture, is a sort of GitHub for wikis.

But GitHub is a distraction. It's not even the largest forking community on the planet. Tumblr, the blogging site that has over 215 million blogs on it is. And Tumblr has already solved the problem of forking for the masses (at least forking stream content).

If you have two kids, the likelihood is one of them is already forking content on a daily basis. They just don't call it that.

Here's a screenshot of how Tumblr, the largest blogging platform in the world, explains itself:

Screenshot of Tumblr Signup

It says: You already know how this works. Once you follow a blog all of the posts show up in your dashboard, just like you'd expect. See something great? Reblog it to your own blog. Make it your own. Add commentary if you like. Other people will do the same to your posts. That's how you meet people here.

Tumblr is addictive, and when I use federated wiki in a group (as an expert user) I get the same sort of buzz I get on Tumblr. It feels very similar to me, on an intuitive level.

I put this here partially because it can feel like we are light years from general adoption of the sort of stuff we are doing here. But I don't think that is true. I keep coming back to the fact that to me as an expert user, Federated Wiki feels like Tumblr, not GitHub. The question is not whether people will understand it, the question is how do we get people to that feeling faster.