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IBIS (Issue-Based Information System) is a methodology for storing discussions in an organized manner (i.e., as questions, ideas, and arguments. It is thought to be particularly useful in tackling Wicked Problems, where the definition of and solution to the problem are interdependent. See IbisOverview for more information on IBIS.

IbisWiki is an attempt to use Wiki technology as the basis for an IBIS implementation. Because Wikis are so flexible, a simple form of IbisWiki can be implemented without any programming at all.

One such implementation uses a simple naming convention. In the following example, the nomenclature for node types is taken from the GDSS (company renamed to TouchStone) Ibis Manual ( http://www.gdss.com/wp/IBIS.htm ). The initial string of characters (terminated with a "z") defines the node type:

Node Type Example Legend
Question QzWhatProgrammingLanguageShouldWeUse italic text
Question (Challenge) QCzWhyUseAComputerAtAll bold italic text
Question (Expands-on) QEzWhatElseWouldWeUse bold italic text
Idea IzUsePerl yellow background
Argument (Pro) APzPerlIsFlexible green background
Argument (Con) ACzPerlIsTooSlow red background
Idea (Specializing) ISzUsePerl6 italic yellow background

Alternatively, the node types could be encoded in specially-formatted text entries within the pages. The entries could also encode relationship information in a formal manner, easing the creation of a "tree mapping" utility.

In any event, the fastest way to find out how an IbisWiki might work is to try setting one up. So, let's create an IbisWiki on the topic of IbisWikis!

-- RichMorin - 21 Aug 2000

It may not take any programming, but a good IbisWiki would surely leave the items bi-directionally linked for several levels of detail. I shall attempt to simulate this by copying the links into the linked pages and annotating them.

-- DickKarpinski - 26 Aug 2000

Hello Mr. Karpinski and Rich. IBIS is wonderful, but it's more than just technology. There's art in refactoring an IBIS discussion that is simply not automatable. The syntax is also a bit arcane and off-putting to those who don't know about IBIS (which is most people). I think it's a wonderful technology. After understanding how it works, making graphs of such discussions is an admirable goal. I look forward to participating in these topics!

I've added a legend column to the above chart to complement the effort in ACzWikiNameEncodingIsCryptic.

-- GrantBow - 11 Jan 2003

Using z as separator in page name is ugly, IMHO. Why not use underscore instead?

-- PeterMasiar - 12 Jan 2003

I agree, but the current Wiki software doesn't accept this (see above). This could of course be reprogrammed. phpwiki recognized WikiWords with underscores only from after the "_". One could of course use brackets every time, but that's rather tiresome.

-- KaiBecker - 2003-02-06

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Topic revision: r9 - 2003-02-08 - PeterThoeny
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