Collaborative writing process

When it comes to writing text in the internet*, people compare their experience to Word. What they want to have is the literal empty page of paper in front of them, and annotated exchange of different versions.

We know different interfaces to achieve this idea in a creative, yet usable way:

About | Tool | Source

These are in declining user-friendlyness from top to bottom. What the web tools are often missing, is the liberty to work on- and offline without friction.

Where Booktype has nice check-in and -out capabilities for individual chapters, notes, chats and offers the same track changes functionality as word, it does not bring real-time nor offline capabilities. Here StackEdit trumps the field with collaborative work spaces for on-off synchronised editing and commenting of texts. The Public Lab as astonishingly managed to produce an interface that is not only informative, but also usable, by having multiple views on events, questions and pages, while everything is thoroughly documented, and many more interaction points with the community are provided. DokuWiki is the representative of simple wiki documentation systems here.

  • writing hypertext in the world wide web

@commonify Could you try out the Booktype demo above and check if its interface is self-explaining enough? I have the intuition this Berlin-originating ( :wink: ) software could aid some writing processes.

We are also following traces of other communities that intentionally produce bodies of text, and knowledge.


The main concern of Teixidora today is note-taking and identifying key themes discussed in events. Although the project is still evolving, the communicative ecology structure, with its three tight-knit layers (social, technological and discursive), is clearly discernible. These layers, where communication occurs and where contents are processed, blur the boundaries of time and space. They are based on the deliberate design of a tool acting as a space for communication and documentation which is also part of a techno-social context and an urban fabric.

The Case of in Barcelona » The Journal of Peer Production

The main problem in the collaborative writing process is to have the same idea among members how to use the tool together. It does not matter which tool to use, as long as nobody in the group knows how to work together and how to use it to reach common goals, it won’t work. Like with if a structure for the group is missing and noone knows how to work at which place on specific problems, so it does not matter which tool is suggested, you will not receive results. Its simple, whatever kind of organization just offering various tools and let members organize themselves won’t work if there are no members around which want to work on these clarifications, these basics to distinguish places for separate topics to work on and members which develop common rules how to work on their goals. No group works with only tools, they first need their common mental model about what they are as a group, what their goal is, which topics are not part of the group project and finally how to work together: a group has to know “where to work on which aspects” otherwise it is only single member work, but never collaborative.

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