What’s a Wiki

In response to a recent comment, What on earth is a Wiki?, I thought I’d go ahead and create a post about it, including links to more information, resources, and examples.

I think of a Wiki as a collaborative website in which anyone can add or edit the content. They’re growing in popularity for sharing information, working on projects, and more. As Ward Cunningham, creator of the wiki, explains:

“Any information can be changed or deleted by anyone. Wiki pages represent consensus because it’s much easier to delete flames and spam than indulge them. What remains is naturally meaningful.

“Anyone can play. This sounds like a recipe for low signal - Wiki gets hit by the great unwashed as often as any other site - but to make an impact on Wiki, you need to generate real content. Anything else will be removed. So anyone can play, but only good players last.”

Wiki Explanations, Information

  • OneMinuteWiki provides a brief explanation.
  • The Wiki Way is a book review by Eugene E. Kim but it provides a terrific explanation of Wikis and how they work.
  • Why Wiki Works is a fascinating article about why this approach works. By Ward Cunningham, creator of the wiki.
  • Wiki History explains how and why the wiki idea and programming was created and founded in 1995 as an automated supplemented to the PortlandPatternRepository. Written by Ward Cunningham, creator of the wiki.

Wiki: A Few Examples

  • Atom Wiki is a wiki for 'syndicating, archiving and editing episodic web sites' including the hotly debated syndication format.
  • css-discuss Wiki is a terrific example of a community effort to provide and share helpful information and resources about CSS. Provided by the css-discuss discussion email list.
  • IA wiki is a fantastic wiki devoted to Information Architecture.
  • Javapedia is Sun’s wiki devoted to all things Java.
  • Joi Ito’s Wiki is a community-oriented wiki where you’ll find many things going on and is ever-changing.
  • MT Wiki is a Movable Type Knowledge Base Wiki.
  • WikiPedia is a fabulous collaborative online encyclopedia.

Innovative and Imaginative Use of Wiki Programming

Matt Haughey takes the wiki to an impressive new level by modifying phpwiki to suit his purposes as a backend for a fresh new and gorgeous design of his website. He describes his thoughts behind his approach and what he did in his September 1 post, CSS wiki zen garden. See also Matt’s About page for more of his thoughts. Then by request he’s now generously providing all his changed phpwiki files with some notes via his September 4 post, Behind the Wiki.

I find Matt’s use of the wiki programming highly creative, even if it ventures away from Cunningham’s idea of collaboration. Matt’s taken the technology and figured out a way to use it to make his site development and maintenance easier while also adhering to W3C Recommendations.

10:30 am, pdt 6 September, 2003 Comments, Trackbacks (7) ·';}?>

Categories: CSS, Development, Information Architecture, Internet, Software, Standards


Comments, Trackbacks: 7 so far. Add yours!

  1. Shirley, since you are using MT now, you might even be interested in visiting the Wiki that the other moderators and I put together - it seems like a really nice alternative for presenting the MT documentation and FAQs, now that I’ve used it and understand it more! Its definitely a new concept to me.
    Movable Type Wiki :)

    07:48 pm, pdt 6 September, 2003Comment by kristine

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  2. Hi, Kristine,
    Oh, of course! I should have thought to include it in the list of examples. I visit the MT Wiki site often.

    I went ahead and added it to the list of examples within the post, too.

    BTW, MT Wiki was already included in my list of Luscious Links section for MT Resources.

    Thanks, Kristine!

    08:28 pm, pdt 6 September, 2003Comment by Shirley Kaiser

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  3. Thanks for that Shirley! I have to admit I was not completly sure what a Wiki was. I find it hard to keep up with this stuff sometimes.

    Great post as usual.

    06:23 am, pdt 7 September, 2003Comment by Paul Michael Smith

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  4. Tim Slavin at Reach Customers Online pointed me to Brainstorms and Raves a site that has nice summary of wiki information and links. Wikis are pretty hard to understand- it's the nature of the beast. Here is a short example...

    08 Sep, 2003Trackback from Common Craft - Online Communication Planning

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  5. What's a Wiki: I've written about wikis before, but here's a good explanation and links to really figure it out. Also, Don Park has been having a conversation about what separates a blog from a wiki, and when exactly does...

    08 Sep, 2003Trackback from Gadgetopia

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  6. This may be of interest: I am compiling all the wikis on the web at WorldWideWiki:OneBigWiki

    I am also having a conversation about Wikis vs Wiki Technology, because I think that Matt has made a nice website based on wiki technology, but it is not a wiki. see MeatBall:WikiDefined

    10:38 pm, pdt 9 September, 2003Comment by Mark

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  7. I’m starting to understand the concept and the potential but it’s not something that attracts me at the moment. I’m still jaded after my many experiences with immature and/or ego-tripping fellow community members.

    09:45 am, pdt21 September, 2003Comment by Sian

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This discussion has been closed. Thanks to all who participated.

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