What is Everything2?

Background
Professionally, I am a web programmer for an external customer support website. I work the glue with the back end databases and how they link to each other. We just got done with an upgrade and it hit me...

Knowledge Management Systems
The features of Primus knowledge base as extremely similar to that of Everything. Paraphrased from the web page: http://www.primus.com/Products/eserver.asp

  • Intuitive user interface
  • User-friendly search strategies
  • Easy, immediate knowledge capture and immediate sharing of newly created knowledge
  • Web based access to searching and authoring capabilities
  • Easy internal and external linking
  • Workflow process and knowledge management features to help insure knowledge quality
  • Hot Solutions and Favorite solutions features which enable fast access to frequently used knowledge
  • Web based system administration

Everything as a KMS Everything shares a large number of similarities with Primus and other Knowledge Management Systems. Most of these work from the point of view that there is a problem: How do we get knowledge from an expert to the end user. There is a system of authoring, review and publication of knowledge. This knowledge comes from the expert - that is the key point.

Another key paradigm in customer service is that the call tracking system is the primary entry point. A person calls up, a case is created, and a question is asked. Then the knowledge base is consulted.

My vision Everything, as it is right now, is a very abstract KMS with loose business rules. To be useful as a KMS for the industry, the types of knowledge need to be more applied.

An end user should be able to create and track a question and developments on the question. Just as many companies offer bug tracking to see when a bug gets fixed, the same should be true of questions. This is already an idea to be able to watch a node and get emailed of updates to it.

A more powerful 'vote' ability for those who use it. The only votes that matter under this idea are those of the end user. A simple +/- doesn't cut it here - there is more to a piece of knowledge than a simple vote.

  • How well written and understandable the knowledge is.
  • How easy it was to find this piece of knowledge.
  • Did the knowledge answer the question.
These votes should also be very search-able by editors to target for editing and revising of knowledge.

Feedback is important
Feedback is the most critical part to any knowledge system. It is the source of new knowledge (from questions) and critical for useful edits on existing knowledge. Any end-user should be able to leave feedback on an existing piece of knowledge, though other user's feedback shouldn't be seen. End users can also be an excellent source of new knowledge, they typically have more practical knowledge of the product than any member of the customer service or engineering staff.

It is important to make sure that feedback left may include actual problems would should be transfered to the call tracking system.

Internal Knowledge
Many companies have public knowledge and internal knowledge on the same problem. These two things must be able to be kept seperate. Likewise, discussion on the knowledge between members of the company is an internal property.

Hierarchy of knowledge
On Everything, knowledge relationships comes from soft links. In a more formal KMS, other linkages would be more useful. Other titles that are similar to this one. Other pieces of knowledge that have similar sets of criteria (product, operating system, error message, etc...). Metanodes would be automatic groupings of these similarities.

Given copious free time, it would be nice to see Everything Knowledge Management System be available to people.

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