Evil (Information) Scientist

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Your wiki wiki ways

Posted by Nathaniel on September 30, 2007

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usI consider myself fairly techno-literate. I can fix most problems that occur regularly on my desktop PC all by myself, as well as on my little mac laptop (few and far between as they are – as a tangent, mac is a far, far superior product). I know basic HTML and can work with CSS. Any programme I use, I’ve taught myself to use. I’m not afraid of computers. I have built web pages (not good ones), blogs, contributed to Wikipedia. In other words, I can feel my way around information technology fairly effectively, but I don’t get one thing: what is a wiki?

I read all the readings for 1311 about wikis. And all I get about them is that they’re good for sharing information and that bosses that let you use them on the job are way cool. I still don’t really see what they are.

Are they a blog? No, they’re not in inverse temporal order. Are they a website? No, anyone with access can access and change them. OK, they’re websites that some people can modify when they don’t like what someone else has written. Why is that good? Does it make the quality of information shared that much more credible if it can be erased, warped, or spindled by someone with a grudge, a crazy person, or a person convinced they’re right regardless of any facts that may (or may not) be ringing through his or her head.

How is the wiki any better than a website for sharing information?

“Obligatory Wiki Photo” by Cogdogblog downloaded under a Creative Commons License


3 Responses to “Your wiki wiki ways”

  1. esum said

    To get all meta on you, here’s wiki’s wiki page

    To answer your question, I think one of the major differences – by no means the most definitive or only one – is that wikis give an online platform for an online community to be self policing, user regulated. With other forms of online groups (e.g. discussion boards etc.), there is usually a maximum size that can be reached before a moderator is needed. If the site is well trafficked, it will require a well coordinated team of mods and a set of policies to function. A wiki doesn’t require this type of top down input. Curious to see what other ppl will think…

  2. Nathaniel said

    I remain unconvinced. Maybe I have to see one in action for real.

  3. gord said

    I would classify wikis as a content management system for a website. The question then arises are they the best solution to the problem of managing content – and do they have the best tools for allowing users, or editors to manage content?

    comparing them to other open source cms would be interesting…


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