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A collection of definitions culled from a few wikis.

In Ward's original description: [ What Is Wiki]

''The simplest online database that could possibly work.''

Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser. Wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and crosslinks between internal pages on the fly.

Wiki is unusual among group communication mechanisms in that it allows the organization of contributions to be edited in addition to the content itself.

Like many simple concepts, "open editing" has some profound and subtle effects on Wiki usage. Allowing everyday users to create and edit any page in a Web site is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the Web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users.


Matt Barton:
To make a long story short, wikis are simply websites that erase the boundaries between authors and readers. A wiki can be changed by anyone who bothers to change it. Just click EDIT and hammer away. Simple. Quick. Democratic. Wiki.

By design principles

[ Wiki Design Principles] defines wikis by the ends for which they were designed. Some highlights from a rhetorical perspective:

* '''Open''' - Should a page be found to be incomplete or poorly organized, any reader can edit it as they see fit.
* '''Incremental''' - Pages can cite other pages, including pages that have not been written yet.
* '''Organic''' - The structure and text content of the site are open to editing and evolution.
* '''Mundane''' - A small number of (irregular) text conventions will provide access to the most useful page markup.
* '''Universal''' - The mechanisms of editing and organizing are the same as those of writing so that any writer is automatically an editor and organizer.
* [...]
* '''Trustworthy''' - This is at the core of wiki. Trust the people, trust the process, enable trust-building. ''How does open editing enable trust? And who controls/checks content?'' Everyone controls and checks the content. Wiki relies on the assumption that most readers have good intentions.

from ''The Wiki Way'', Leuf and Cunningham.

: There are people for whom, in the strictest of self-interest, WikiWiki is a learning place. For some it is a knowledge base. For others it is a forum for debate. All find something of value (323).

[ What is a Wiki, at UseMod]. UseMod places emphasis on the lack of central organization for self-regulating anarchistic. Overstatement, but with a point.

: A Wiki is a collaboratively-edited website''' which many people also view as '''an anarchistic publishing tool.''' The distinguishing feature of wikis is that they typically allow '''all''' users to edit ''any'' page, with full freedom to edit/change/delete the work of previous authors.

[ Wikipedia] goes into the origin of the name, ''wiki.''

: A Wiki or wiki (pronounced [w?ki], [wiki] or [viki]; see Pronunciation below) is a website that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content. "Wiki" also refers to the collaborative software used to create such a website (see Wiki software).

: Wiki (with an upper case 'W') and WikiWikiWeb are both used to refer specifically to the Portland Pattern Repository, the first-ever wiki. This usage's proponents suggest a lower-case 'w' for wikis in general. The name was based on the Hawaiian term wiki wiki, meaning "quick" or "super-fast". At Honolulu Airport, the inter-terminal coaches are called the Wiki Wiki Bus for this reason. Sometimes wikiwiki or WikiWiki are used instead of wiki.

[ What is a Wiki] at Souceforge - in their open source community fashion. focuses on the collaborative nature of the wiki as a means of contributing to the Internet community

: A "wiki" is a document that is collectively created and maintained. Anyone can edit it. This feature evokes a sense of responsibility and seriousness among most Internet surfers (sometimes this is too much for people). It's a great means to utilize the Internet community, allowing users to build something useful for everyone.

[ at OpenWiki]

: A Wiki is '''an online collaboration tool''' -- a web site where the pages can be changed and published *INSTANTLY* using only a web browser (no programming required). Pages are automatically created and linked to each other. It is really cool!

OpenWiki focuses on the quickness of working on a wiki and hints at '''the ability to create structures from what seem to be initially an unstructured set of pages documents.'''

* Collaborate using modifiable web pages
* Automatic web page linking and creation
* Changes are *INSTANTLY* published
* Increased information interchange.

OpenWiki sees it as "the '''post-it note''' of the web."

: It's that simple. A quick and easy way to post your thoughts to the web from anywhere and retrievable from anywhere.

: While a post-it note usually contains short cryptic sentences OpenWiki can contain rich text and hyperlinked notes.

: The concept of a wiki is that '''the quality of content rises when everyone is allowed, even encouraged, to author and refactor any page.'''

[ KaminskiWiki]
: A wiki is a collaboratively created web site. I host this one to keep track of things that are interesting to me and to other folks who come to visit. I think of it as '''an encyclopedia that gets written a tiny bit at a time'''. The structure and conventions used are still evolving.

[ WikiNature] defines by metaphor, drawing on post-it notes, open source projects, and an aesthetic based on elegance and minimalism.

: WikiNature is typing in a bunch of book titles and coming back a day later and finding them turned into birds in the Amazon.

: Writing on Wiki is ''' like regular writing, except I get to write so much more than I write, and I get to think thoughts I never thought.''' ( being on a really good FreeSoftware project, where you wake up the next morning to find your bugs fixed and ideas improved.)

: It reminds us of minimalist Japanese brushstroke drawings; you provide the few, elegant slashes of ink, and other minds fill in the rest.

: It befuddles and enlightens.

: Really, it's not accurate to talk about a WikiNature, we would do better recognizing that Nature itself, is Wiki.

[To illustrate: wiki becomes conversational space; writers collaborate by conversing at [ WikiNature]

And by historical connection -

: my personal memex. SebPaquet

['s_OpenMind Seb's Open Mind]. The Memex is described by Vannever Bush in a 1945 article, [ "As We May Think."]
* SimplyWiki
* [ Notes on a Rhetoric of Wiki] discusses some of the rhetorical and compositional features of wikis: what makes them different than paper.
* [ Virtues Of Wiki] looks at the strength of using wikis for teaching writing.
* [ Why Wiki Works] and [ Why Wiki Works Not] discusses and dramatizes changes to writing.

WritingOnAWiki| WikiAndBlog
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