What I Learned While Editing a LitWiki

What I Learned While Editing a LitWiki
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

What was my Contribution to the LitWiki on Technical Writing in the Digital Age?

My contribution to the LitWiki on technical writing in the digital age has covered background, historical context, and future implications. My input spanned several sections of the LitWiki for Technical Writing in the Digital Age; among them were the overview of technical writing, features of technical writing, historical context of the technical writing profession, digital technologies and technical writing, and future trends and challenges. I have also contributed two topics to the talk space, including one on the issue of topics versus subtopics and another on the matter of paragraph blocks.

Image of LitWiki Talk Page
Image of a LitWiki Talk Page

What Were my Edits to the LitWiki on Technical Writing in the Digital Age?

My primary edit was to the section on digital technologies and technical writing. This section primarily summarizes the impact of digital technologies on the field of technical writing. My edit pointed out the predominant impact of digital technologies on the field of technical writing: it made it more accessible by increasing the breadth of its viewers. I did this by first pointing out that as the world-wide web is public, it can be accessed by anyone with access to the internet.

The fact that the internet is the framework of digital technologies naturally renders documents or tools that are harnessed by the web more accessible. In my edit to this section on digital technologies, I elaborated on this point by sharing how many of the major digital technologies used either within or to create technical documents can make them more easily shared or disseminated. These changes were necessary because they highlight the important point that technical writing in the digital age is not simply technical documentation online, but also about how this combination of the two worlds interact to make technical writing available to more people.

How Does my Article Compare to Earlier Versions?

There was no earlier version of a wiki to be found on technical writing in the digital age. The original framework of this litwiki was only a shell with an opening about writing in the digital arena and a few entries for potential subtopics to this theme. The current version not only provides context for digital technologies within the technical writing discipline, but it also expounds upon many of the features of both technical and digital writing, as well as several of the positive and negative consequences of this digital dynamic of the field. 

What Did I Learn from Contributing to a LitWiki?

A wiki is an example of an open virtual writing space, a website whose content is edited by its users. In contributing to a litwiki, I learned firsthand about how an open writing space functions. I learned how a topic can benefit from the perspective and skills of many different writers and editors. I also saw how a dispute can be resolved in a public writing space by utilizing a so-named “talk” page to host a discussion about the issue between users.  

An image of the homepage of Citizendium, a wiki-based online encyclopedia
An Image of the homepage of Citizendium, a wiki-based online encyclopedia

How Can a Wiki be Used to Increase Public Understanding of my Topic?

As has already been discussed, placing a document in a digital space already provides exposure to a greater possible audience. Given this point alone, it is easy to see how a wiki about the field of technical writing in the digital age is a good way to inform the public about this topic. Anyone with access to the internet is a potential viewer for a wiki. And furthermore, because it is digital, it can also be shared and advertised in several easy ways. One can include inserting a link to their wiki in their blog or other online forums for which they write. Subsequently, one can include the links to webpages of others in their online writing and invite others to include the link to their wiki in their online documents. Additionally, this same process could be repeated for social media accounts.

Chanel Brown

Chanel lives on the East Coast and is currently pursuing an MA in Technical & Professional Writing.
Along the East Coast