In two recent journal entries, I ran into having to decide how to incorporate the writing of another in a wiki page. Mike's consideration about annotations and two of Ward's journal entries. I wanted to leave the wiki pages alone, knowing that they may be updated and changed by the writers, but I also wanted them at hand, and wanted to comment on them w/o necessarily incorporating paragraphs into my commentary.
Historically, in ms and print culture, we've had ways to do this. Marginal notes, annotations. Both leave the original alone (it tended to be sacred words, after all) but ornament the page with the commentary so source and comment can be read together. The commentary is marginal, relegated to the margin.
In digital text, we have annotations that borrow from the print model, using the margins and notes for commentary on the relatively static main text. In some cases, the text is frozen by the writer and, as historical, comments are relegated to the margins. Why PDFs are readily embraced by print-centric. Why wikis make writers anxious.
On the wiki, commentary becomes revision because the text can be so readily changed. Traditional wiki or fed wiki - the move is the same: The original is erased for an update that provides a comment. The external, attached comment becomes on the traditional wiki an interlineal comment. No longer marginal but now sharing the same space as the original. Anxiety.
On FedWiki, commentary comes of forking the original and adding comment as on a traditional wiki. Here, though, the original is maintained and we now have a fork with the commentary, interlineal or revisional. That likely makes writers anxious as we start to loose track of the original. It's still there and still recoverable, but the new text has all the authority of the original.
This is not the only way to incorporate a text in a text. So a little quandary concerning how to conventionalize non-destructive embedding and commentary.
In these two recent cases, I chose to embed by dragging the page's flag to a factory. This preserves the original's text, links to that text, and provides a written gloss on the original. The flag and gloss provide a visual signal that the link is to the original.
What can be done from there?
The reader can open the original in a column by clicking the flag to have a look. Sometimes, that's all a reader needs, especially if the summary or paraphrase is well selected and focused. This keeps the original and the derivative close to each other. The side by side reading reduces the need to quote for context; quoted material can be more finely selected. So, it short-cicruits a tendency to copy and paste quote rather than read and compose summaries.
The writer can open the original in a column to summarize from, quote from, or mine. When this is done, the original is forked, and while the flag still points to the original, the link text now goes to the forked version. That creates a small problem (What did that link do? keep your eye on the flag!) but that can be resolved in a later version or by practice. We should keep the two links - one to original and the other to the derivative.
Another way of handling the original is to drag the flag into the commentary, then replace the original's gloss with a quote or summary. I tried this in Thinking about Annotations with an embedded link to Ward's thinking about a memex-journal.
I have no general best practices on this yet so much as a set of observations on practice. I'm less concerned about tracing the citation and the origin and more interested about bringing ideas from different sources into conjunction. Setting ideas side by side, sequentially in a text or literally as in fedwiki - is where the interesting stuff happens.