A Canadian study among 4th grade students (age 8 to 9) showed that indeed wiki markup can even be used by children after a 15 minute introduction (Desilets 06). The study shows that the wiki markup itself is by far not the biggest usability issue with wikis. The real issues that were revealed by this study are the understanding of the hypertext nature of the Internet, and related to that, link creation and management. The success of wikis and Wikipedia in particular therefore indicates that we seem to have the missing simple markup finally to get the masses involved... If we close that door, we will miss a historic opportunity. We might fail to build the necessary infrastructure that will at one time let us move to a more productive document production, one that infuses the logical way, where what you see is what you mean. Without that, it will become much harder to advance wiki technology in general. The vision to write programs with easy scripting languages via "the wiki way" will become even harder. If we cannot teach users the logical approach of document production, how will it ever work out for programming for the masses? There should be a right for a Digital Literacy for everyone that is easy to learn and usable for anyone and independent of the technology platform. If we fail to achieve this, it is not the user's fault but ours, because we didn't deploy the Simplest Thing that could possibly work. If we succeed, we will see productivity advances in a field where we never would have expected them.
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