The wiki format, made familiar by Wikipedia facilitates collaborative development of knowledge. An article posted by one author may act as a springboard for contributions from others.
MineDesignWiki is different from Wikipedia in its purpose, its content and its reach:
- The goal is the collection and dissemination of relevant, reliable information about a specific topic -- the best-practices in mine design.
- The community is miniscule compared with Wikipedia's hundreds of millions.
- The community is homogeneous (professional mining engineers) with a high degree of expertise.
- The tolerance for unreliable information is low.
For these reasons, the MineDesignWiki has adapted this model to recognize the contributions of experts and faciliate their colleagial exchange of views. Not only does the Discussion tab enable comments and questions to encourage dialogue between an author and readers, but the provision of a variety of authorship models, provides authors flexibility in deciding how the dialogue around their article will take place.
In certain cases authors can request that their articles be locked, so that their unique treatment of a topic is preserved. In this case, comments, and the exchange of member views is mediated via the Discussion tab.
Some authors may elect to leave their articles open, in which case, in addition to the Discussion, other members may edit and append information directly into the article by selcting the Edit tab.
Authorship and editing
In order to post an article or to make revisions to an article, you must be assigned editing rights by the site administrator. Anonymous posting and commenting is not permitted. This process grants a similar set of privileges to Wikipedia's Confirmed user status.
Expertise developed through years of experience is invaluable and is the measure of the wiki's worth as a reliable source of mine design information.
All articles will be attributed to the author who wrote them. As described above, authors will be able to elect to lock their articles or leave them open to collaborative revision by other members. For articles that are unlocked and open to editing, credit for additions or revisions will be available through the History tab.
For all articles, the Discussion tab facilitates ongoing dialogue between the author and members.
Best practice - consensus and debate
By enabling discussions around specific topics by professionals working in diverse settings, it is hoped that consensus around best practices can be built. Once an article is posted on the wiki, community members are encouraged to read, comment, engage in dialogue with the author and other members.
If the article is open, members may directly edit the contents of the article (via the Edit tab), adding detail, examples or references to improve its quality and readability. In this way, the knowledge captured in an article will grow to include a broad range of experience.
Debate around best practice
We anticipate that diverse working contexts and experience will give rise to differences of opinion among members. A posted article may capture an opinion on best practice that is held nearly unanimously by members, but might also present an opinion that is not shared by mining engineers whose experience has been in a very different context.
Because better understanding of the experiences and contexts that account for differing practices will advance the science of mine design, the wiki will present different points of view on best practices. Where an author decides to respond with an article that offers a different take on a topic, the Editors will provide cross-links between the articles and will highlight the lack of consensus. It is hoped that this linkage will encourage discussion around the reasons and contexts for differing advice. Eventually, it is hoped that as members share their own experience, ongoing discussion will reveal new understanding.
To facilitate consensus building, articles are initially labelled as draft. A draft article is "unlocked" to allow the community input described above. At all times the original author is credited for the work. The contributors of additional material are not automatically identified within the displayed article (for readability), but provenance of all revisions can be verified via the History tab.
While the specific mechanism has yet to be implemented, articles that the community or the editors view as having reached a level of quality and providing detailed information will be submitted to a peer review.
At the end of the review process, with appropriate edits having been made, the revision number of the article will be designated as having been peer reviewed. Once this has been done every time the article is displayed the user will have the option of viewing the current revision of the article or selecting to see one of the Peer Reviewed versions. (we assume that during their life times articles may be Peer Reviewed more than once).
The Wiki software also will allow a user to see the differences between any two revisions of an article, and thus see what has changed in an article since it was last peer reviewed.