Collaborative Writing Site MixedInk Launches

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MixedInk, a free online collaborative writing site, has publicly launched. The idea is to allow groups of people to compose their ideas into a collective text, such as reviews, blog posts, and news articles.

An organizer proposes a topic and invites others to participate. The invitation can be public, inviting all registered visitors to contribute, or it can be limited to a group of people identified by the organizer. He or she also sets a deadline for the end of the process. Users contribute their ideas and opinions about the given subject and edit and remix the submissions from each other. They also rate each others' submissions, thereby raising the visibility of the ones that best capture the group's viewpoint. Users can also comment on submissions, but those comments don't become part of the final version until they're turned into text drafts.

In the end, states an FAQ on the site, "the highest rated text--created jointly by many different users--represents the group's collective opinion." At each stage, as writers feed into the text and that verbiage gets picked up and included in subsequent versions, the service maintains a record of who contributed.

A terms of use agreement states that users are allowed to incorporate ideas from others on the site into their text and will allow others to do the same with their original submissions. Plus, since the text is published under a Creative Commons license, it can be republished elsewhere. The company said it removes copyrighted material submitted by users when notified.

According to the developers, MixedInk differs from a standard wiki, in that participants don't overwrite each other, nor is the final version prone to spam placed by the final contributor.

The site is supported through a combination of advertising on some pages and the sale of an enterprise version that organizations can integrate into their own sites.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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