Meatball, or "MeatballWiki", is a wiki dedicated to online communities, culture and hypermedia. Its original goal was to focus on collaborative hypermedia but topics have ranged from Intellectual Property to Cyberpunk to the confusion of URIs. Meatball also hosts various project journals, and in particular, has influenced much of the design of UseModWiki, considered a "classic" wiki software package.
Because of its role as a "community about communities", it has become the launching point for various other wiki-based projects, and a central resource for the wider WikiSphere. While its aims do not explicitly include becoming a center of this community, the content it produces is well-suited to use as reference materials elsewhere. One of the key concepts on MeatballWiki is the "barn raising" metaphor (see (Meatball:BarnRaising)), and co-founder Sunir Shah created the first internet "barnstar" award there, now used on many wiki's. Contributors to Meatball are strongly encouraged to sign in using their real world names, to keep the community tightly knit and conversational.
Critical ViewsMeatballWiki can be criticized for appearing self-important, a self-appointed guardian of the WikiSphere. It can even be said to generate newspeak about wiki communities against individuals, because the first impression a new contributor will have, most especially if they use a "Pen Name" other than their "Real Name", is one of a social clique which excludes them and looks for reasons to be insulted, much like what is found on Pseudopedia. Attempts to argue for embrace are met with swift and uncaring calumny and aspersion. This is the mark of a community facing extinction.
Meatball also has relevance problems as a wiki community, and to the extent its members are consumed with navel-grazing, their policies and ideologies, it is an unwelcoming discussion forum for anything else. Represented are a very narrow range of largely outdated academic topics and a seeming wish to return to the mid-90s (in internet terms).
Meatballers have come up with several applicable terms, such as "(meatball:FishBowl|FishBowl)" and "(meatball:GatedCommunity|GatedCommunity)", yet choose to avoid applying such terms of presumption and admonishment to Meatball - even as Meatball has clearly illustrated them in recent years. Groupthink conditions in a WikiSphere which embraced Meatball and Wikipedia years ago are long passed and outmoded, a state noticed in some ways even by co-founder (meatball:SunirShah|Sunir Shah).
Some content adapted from the Wikinfo article "MeatballWiki" under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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