The Wiki Twitch

I can feel a case of the Wiki Twitch coming on …

Victims of the Wiki Twitch have a perfectionist tendency which causes them to optimise content they come across, for the benefit of others and for reasons of “enlightened selfishness” – the motivation to improve what they will likely read again in the future. Many of these Wiki Twitchers have spent hundreds of hours in front of a computer screen, browsing encyclopaedias, reading community-created theories, and some are mad enough to write entire books inside a wiki. The twitch may begin when using these systems, but after some time, Wiki Twitchers fail to differentiate between websites that are wikis and those that are static, leading to a general desire to edit all content, even that which is not open for editing.

When content is hosted on editable wikis, the Wiki Twitch can actually promote a general feeling of well-being. But outside that realm, on the Static Web, it can lead to ultimately unsuccessful gestures – “Wiki Twitches” – towards a non-existent Edit button. Over 99% of the web remains ineditable at this time, leading to frequent delusions of editability.

The situation may be different in the future. Some younger Wiki Twitchers will never know what it’s like to pick up a static encyclopaedia and experience the feeling that it’s immutable. They are increasingly growing up to know a world where everything they can see can be changed by consensus.

A further trend is revealed by the increased interest in Second Life and other Massive Multi Player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). Its only a matter of time before the “everything is editable” delusion of the Wiki Twitch extends to real-world objects.

A significant sub-population of Wiki Twitchers are programmers who have succumbed to the related phenomenon known as Test Infection. The refactoring bug is the cause of this infection, and, though primarily involved in a symbiotic relationship with software code, it has a natural affinity with wiki content.

Individuals suffering Wiki Twitch are advised to spend more time inside the Editable Web. If pain persists, install an appropriate annotation tool, such as Diigo or WizLite.