Refactoring Affordances in Corporate Wikis: A Case for the Use of Mind Maps

The organization of corporate wikis tends to deteriorate as time goes by. Rearranging categories, structuring articles and even moving sections among articles are cumbersome tasks in current wiki engines. This discourages the layman. But, it is the layman who writes the articles, knows the wiki content, and detects refactoring opportunities. Our goal is to improve the refactoring affordances of current wiki engines by providing an alternative front-end tuned to refactoring. This is achieved by (i) surfacing the structure of the wiki corpus as a mind map, and (ii) conducting refactoring as mind map reshaping. To this end, we introduce WikiWhirl, a domain-specific language for wiki refactoring. WikiWhirl is supported as an extension of FreeMind, a popular mind mapping tool. In this way, refactoring operations are intuitively conducted as actions upon mind map nodes. In a refactoring session a user imports the wiki structure as a FreeMind map; next, conducts the refactoring operations on the map, and finally, the effects are saved in the wiki database. The operational semantics of the WikiWhirl operations follow refactoring good practices (e.g., authorship preservation). Results from a controlled experiment suggest that WikiWhirl outperforms MediaWiki in three main affordance enablers: understandability, productivity and fulfillment of refactoring good practices.

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University of the basque country