Why a Visual Language Wiki?

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I took a look at the wikipedia discussion page and like you, found a rather petty mess of arguments that didn't make a lot of sense, and considering I'm not into the wikipedia "thing", couldn't make much headway in adding my voice in any coherent way.

Then noting the references to (and probable identification with) "meat puppets" I left asking myself if this was worth the effort and if wikipedia is a proper medium for discussing this visual communications concept in the first place.

I personally identify with the "visual practitioner" dimension of the field (where facilitating "graphic ideation" as it relates to engineering and technical design is my personal emphasis - not communications centric), and considering this is still a very "emergent" field (no schools that teach it, and only a few voices defining and practicing it) I can't say its any surprise that wikipedia editors (who seem to be coming at this from a traditional academic perspective) would miss the point and fail to comprehend the validity of the work we do as a group and that Dave Gray and XPLANE do as a business entity.

What I'm wondering is, why should we validate the wikipedia pettyness and shortsightedness? Shouldn't we focus on defining our field ourselves in some more vocal (or visual) way, and then let them discover us - as an afterthought?

I realize that this may not be what Dave would like to hear since "joe average business user" would likely do a google search and upon finding a wikipedia entry defining XPLANE in some positive light might appear to provide an almost endorsement. I think a lot of us would like similar endorsements, but I'm thinking it would be best coming from some other source.

For myself, I'm rewriting my tripod website and since I do show up fairly well in the search engines, and in doing so, I intend to do a better job of representing those of you that I know something about in as positive light as I can. I know each of you has a specialty or an area of focus - different from mine, and from each other, providing a fairly wide spectrum of capabiltity. So for my part, XPLANE will be well represented.

After digging through the wikipedia falderol, I'm afraid my opinion of the thing has fallen considerably, and I can't say that I'm all that dissapointed that they are considering dropping the XPLANE entry... If they look at people who know something real about an organization as "meat puppets" than they can just stick it as far as I'm concerned. They aren't worth my time.

Lets find something stronger (more mature and civil to boot) to represent this stuff.

IF a way can be found to place a new entry into wikipedia, I'm inclined to think it should be a linked set of wide ranging definitions of things visual, like "visual practitioner", "Visual Communication", "graphic facilitation/recording", "Visual Language", "Graphic ideation", "Visual literacy" and any other words you-all might use to describe this domain.

Naming the spokesmen (guru's), inventors, writers and known practitioners, companies that specialize in it and all would seem to be a much broader and more potent (less argueable) point.

Realize that what we might initially put up would be edited by other's who believe they've got something to say on the subject - so these words could be hijacked. I would think it would pay to be very specific in our usage and focus on making clear distinctions (for example I don't believe that "graphic design" and "graphic facilitation" necesarily go together, since graphic designers focus on end product communication and graphic facilitators are using visual thinking and imagery to come to decisions (or as Jim Rough describes it) a bit of "choice creating"...

Since drawing to communicate has to be more finished and coherent, where "drawing to figure things out" is about getting stuff out of the haze and into some sort of focus/relationship with reality, it could get sticky when graphic designers who think they help people think through something fail to understand they are only working on the end of the process and aren't helping the beginning or middle where expensive (sometimes life threatening) decisions get made.

I'm sure there are other distinctions that are just as challenging, but the point is that we share an emerging discipline that doesn't have a long history or clearly defined "edges" (or a box to occupy), so we're in that shaky place where we can be railroaded by the established and the well known, and that situation usually requires striking out on our own and making a stand in a more defined way that stands out (do the rock star thing and define a new genre).

What do you-all think?

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