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July 20, 2007

FS Manual and Handbook as Wiki

Suppose that the US Forest Service operated the FS Manual and Handbook System like Wikipedia, letting any and all edit Manual and Handbook materials to improve them on the fly. The result would likely be chaos, at least at first.

People like me would edit it all out of existence, echoing my long standing belief that the Manual and Handbook system is a big contributor to 'process gridlock' in the Forest Service. Others would dutifully build it back in, piece by piece. And so on.

But suppose we change the rules of engagement a bit. Suppose that instead of Wikipedia-like rules of engagement, the FS were to allow any and all to edit, but have the system keep unofficial 'competing' versions of the Manual and Handbook at it evolves (and not just keep such in the 'record' as does Wikipedia). In addition, let each group set up associated commentary on their Manual and Handbook versions and any other competing versions they see fit to comment on. Let the comments build on top of comments. Then find some means to deliberate and decide on what ought to be.

Finally, let each group develop a blog (weblog) if they so choose, to chronicle the development of their parts of the Manual and/or Handbook and any battles or alliances with other groups that occur.

In short, why not let folks defend their own work, challenge the work of others, and improve the process unfolds? To what ends:

More gridlock? Less?

More adaptation? Less?

More bureaucracy? Less?

More fun? Less?

Posted by Dave on July 20, 2007 at 02:55 PM | Permalink


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