Some of the most important work in wiki is personal. This is relatively new for wiki, where an encyclopaedic approach is the norm. But in this new wiki we write with perspective. The starting point for perspective is often personal. It can become social later.
# Writing books Several prolific writers in wiki have been motivated to write a book - either as a solo author or by writing together with one or more co-authors.
There is a joy in writing in wiki for your own purposes. The freedom to write in new styles, combining very different modalities is liberating.
Equally the self-archiving of personal research, without necessarily a clear idea of how or when this material will be useful, but in the knowledge that we have needed such a service in the past - that also is an effective motivation for many authors we have spoken to.
# Frustration However, there is a sense of frustration in that a large part of the interest generated by federated wiki, is motivated by the idea of groups sharing their research. There is to date very little in terms of actual spontaneous generation of such collaborative group work in wiki.
We understand this issue to be in part due to the immaturity of some of the tools needed to view the activity of other peoples work. The tools exist but are complicated to use, and unfinished.
A current area of active research is the development of visualisations of group activity, and of the ability to search and find wiki-pages that have been written but may lie on any of a large number of federation wiki sites.
# Motivations Finally, the lack of motivation for collaborative work of any form as opposed to the clarity of motivation regarding for instance book publishing, is not to be underestimated.
Having a clear focus on the end end result of the collaborative writing process is an important factor in motivating a team to continue writing. After all writing in wiki is new, and involves learning unfamiliar tools, and spending considerable time over many months wit an uncertain outcome. In such a circumstance only people highly motivated by the ideas involved in the experiment can be expected to take part.