The current wiki-inspired design theme for www.ericadriaans.com was selected as a writing and design exercise. While earlier versions of the website acted as a convenient and enjoyable blogging format, the wiki-styled version of the site provides a new writing challenge and exercise:
- write articles in a pseudo-wiki format contrasting the authoritative and objective voice of a crowd-sourced wiki knowledge-base with a subjective single-author source
- adopt the iterative approach of a wiki, continually updating articles based on new information; all content is provisional; incorporate source material and references in a quasi-academic or encyclopedic stance
- orient articles and content to a mix of creative and formal writing standards, content and objectives
- include a certain degree of dry humour and irony whenever and wherever possible
What is a Wiki
A wiki is typically a collaborate website relying on crowd-sourced content; essentially a wiki acts as an authoritative knowledge and information database or resource for its users. Wikipedia is arguably the best-known wiki. It is organized on the concept of an online encyclopedia. Wikipedia states that it is not a single wiki, but a collection of hundred of wikis in multiple languages. The organization also claims that the wiki in Wikipedia is drawn from a Hawaiian word for quick. One can but note a certain disappointment that wiki was not a reference to the slang term wicked…meaning extremely cool and awesome, and perhaps a bit naughty; as in “Erickipedia is wicked.” Being quick is certainly admirable; but being wicked may just be preferable.
Drawing on the established authoritative voice of an encyclopedia, Wikipedia is probably also one of the most commonly referenced resources in the English language. Notwithstanding inevitable financial considerations, there are several factors which seem to guarantee the continued success of Wikipedia as an online resource:
- Ease of navigation: users of the tool are quickly and intuitively able to navigate articles and every article provides many links to other related articles.
- Crowd-sourcing: the eagerness of individuals to monitor and contribute to Wikipedia articles ensures that content is continually updated and refreshed.
- Authoritative voice: the authoritative and objective voice of the tool lends itself to setting information forward as facts
- Non-Academic: though it might be argued that academic standards and methods might undermine Wikipedia as a valid source of information (indeed, there are many who dismiss Wikipedia as a source of information), this is actually a strength as it takes intellectual pursuits out of academia. Wikipedia is part of a global trend of information becoming public and open rather than the domain of particular academic and professional credentialing systems.
In addition to a certain sense of boredom with a generic blogging format and the sheer challenge of creating a personally-inspired encyclopedic website, Erickipedia is a response to Richard Susskind’s 2016 Sir Graham Day Lecture in Ethics, Morality and the Law at Dalhousie University. As explained by CBC:
Technology is not just taking over factory jobs, according to British author and scholar Richard Susskind, it’s about to do the jobs of lawyers, doctors, journalists and other professionals. It could be the start of a social revolution, but what does it mean for the future of professional work by humans?…Computers now are not only infused with knowledge humans gave them — they’re also creating new and more advanced knowledge by themselves — on a massive scale. Some experts predict these computers will make many professions obsolete. And that leaves us with some burning questions, such as: what will happen when all these well-educated people become redundant? And how will they earn a living in the future?
One answer is that they will create works of art and culture for others to explore and enjoy. Perhaps they will also strive for the betterment of humanity and the global environment. Perhaps they’ll write a few poems along the way.
I’m sure I don’t have to explain the Eric in Erickipedia.
Articles On Erickipedia
Erickipedia begins with poetry, theories and perspectives of poetics and branches out into other formalized writing disciplines such as legislative drafting, policy writing and more.
The Erickipedia is a personal universe of story-telling, knowledge and information. In genre literature, a self-contained and consistent setting where action of story-telling occurs is considered a fictional universe. Popular examples of a fictional universe might include:
- the mythology of a given culture (eg. Norse, Greek, Chinese, Egyptian)
- the settings of the Frank Herbert’s Dune series
- the Marvel comic book universe vs. the DC comic book universe
- the mysteries novels of Agatha Christie
The parameters of a fictional universe preclude an unreasonable intrusion of information from other fictional universes or, indeed from the real universe of common human experience. It is therefore expected that Norse mythology will not contain references to Agatha Christie or her characters, Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple. It is not unreasonable, however, for Agatha Christie or one of her characters to reference Norse mythology. We’ll set aside, for the moment, mash-ups which force characters from separate fictional universes into contact with each other.
The Erickipedia is an exercise to create short articles and expositions which are internally consistent while exploring new-media story telling opportunities. This is a personal universe of story-telling, knowledge and information.
References and Citations
- Wikipedia’s article on wiki
- Replacing the Professionals – Richard Susskind’s 2016 Sir Graham Day Lecture in Ethics, Morality and The Law at Dalhousie University
All content on www.ericadriaans.com, the Erickipedia, is updated and revised based on new information, further consideration, reader feedback and whim. To recommend updates, provide feedback or comment please use the contact and feedback form.
- Original draft: June 14, 2018
- Updated July 20, 2018