The killer app for user-created content is games. Game devotees are invested in the experience to the extent that it allows them to feel “I created this experience.” This helps us somewhat get over some terrible user experience design issues:
There are those who feel that any features in social media that smack of competition (closely allied to, but not synonymous with games) drives user participation down. They therefore lobby for the elimination of things like leaderboards, “best of” lists and so on.
Which is true?
You have approaches like foursquare (Wiki. http://mashable.com/2010/07/13/game-mechanics-business/?utm_source=TweetMeme&utm_medium=widget&utm_campaign=retweetbutton), or Digg’s recent step away from this.
Which is the right model for the TechNet Wiki?
There is an interesting point in the TechNet Wiki FAQ (based on a colleague’s observation) <see what I did right there? Is that competitive or not?>
What is the TechNet Wiki (TNW)? How is it different from wikipedia?
Wikipedia is focused on academic research, the TechNet Wiki is focused on technical documentation. The purpose of academic research is to argue a conclusion based on evidence. If the source of the evidence is not authoritative, then the argument is undermined. Technical documentation, on the other hand, is intended to solve a problem by providing a path to understanding the technology. In most cases, it doesn’t matter as much whether the source of the information is authoritative as long as it is demonstrably correct. We test this in the practical application of the information. On the TechNet Wiki the people who actually use the information can refine the information (edit the wiki article ) based on their applied experience. A certain amount of authority will then adhere to those who do that refining, but only as the community agrees that the refinement is accurate by not further correcting it.The focus of TN Wiki is technical content for IT Pros and Devs that relates to Microsoft products. Microsoft employee participation on Wikipedia content about Microsoft or competitor technologies are not seen as peer-to-peer or "community." The members of the product teams at Microsoft who participate in forums, blogs, twitter, facebook and other social sites can collaborate with customers on the TN Wiki more effectively than on Wikipedia. In addition, wikipedia has a commitment to a NPOV (neutral point of view). TNW has a commitment to a balanced technical point of view. On the TNW, the value of the technical information is prized above the source.
IMO the wiki will win because it allows you to compete against yourself, and help colleagues (or at least others with the same interests or technical problem) at the same time.