WikiSpaces, Beautiful but Flawed

Story Text:

Some time back we had a great conversation about Wiki's. One of my major gripes in that thread was the complexity for the average user, and how that rendered most wiki's useless for all but the technorati. Well, i got a nice email from Adam Frey, owner of who claimed that his site was very simple and intuitive. It is, but it has one fatal flaw....

Rel=NoFollow on all external links.

What a shame.

Putting that to one side just for a moment though, i have to applaud Adam for creating a Wiki that really is very, very intuitive, and fun to use. It also produces very nice url's.

Now Adam, how about that nofollow shit eh?


I see where the other Adam is coming from

Though I'm no fan of the nofollow thing, I can see where Mr. Frey is coming from and I respect his decision.

I've experimented with some of my own wikis, and invariably I end up with two choices:
- Require registration, which sort of defeats the spirit of wikis to begin with.
- Clean up spamcrap (both edits and comments) every fricking day.

If wikispaces universally embraces the nofollow policy and makes this known, then at least the savvier wikispammers will be likely to remove wikispaces from their crosshairs.

- Require registration,

- Require registration, which sort of defeats the spirit of wikis to begin with.

They require registration also...

No, registration is clearly optional

I just did a test edit on one of the wikis without registering.

Right, it's just

Right, it's just registration to set up a space then?

So I'd gather...

...and indeed, while I suppose particularly industrious spammers could create their own spaces, I think the spamming of others' wikis is the bigger issue.

One wiki I saw has a rather unique hybrid solution; it allows anon edits, but -- from what I understand -- no URLs go live without a registered user approving 'em.

But anyway, I digress. Wikispaces does look really nice, and I am for any folks or organizations that make wikis easier to use for non-geeks! Thanks for pointing out this site, Nick... I'd not seen it before!

Wikispaces, Beautiful

Thanks for the supportive comments guys. Some notes:

1) We do use rel=nofollow to discourage link spamming. It's not a great solution, but we think it's appropriate in a system that allows anonymous editing. URL approval is an interesting idea - we'll add it to our anti-spam todo list. When we get to the point where other spam protection mechanisms are strong enough to protect our communities, we'd certainly consider turning rel=nofollow back off.

2) It's worth mentioning that James is a co-founder of Wikispaces and the lead developer . He should get the bulk of the credit for Wikispaces being intuitive and fun to use (not to mention beautiful).

3) Registration, as you've concluded, is only required in order to create a new space or page. Unregistered guests can do everything else on the site including edit pages. That's a big part of our emphasis on open communities and ease of use.

We really appreciate the feedback. We're learning a lot from our communities as they grow and we're always happy to get as much input as we can so thanks again.

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