A wiki (
Wikis are enabled by
There are hundreds of thousands of
The online encyclopedia project
This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2017)
- "A wiki invites all users—not just experts—to edit any page or to create new pages within the wiki web site, using only a standard 'plain-vanilla' Web browser without any extra add-ons."
- "Wiki promotes meaningful topic associations between different pages by making page link creation intuitively easy and showing whether an intended target page exists or not."
- "A wiki is not a carefully crafted site created by experts and professional writers and designed for casual visitors. Instead, it seeks to involve the typical visitor/user in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the website landscape."
A wiki enables
Some wikis have an edit button or link directly on the page being viewed if the user has permission to edit the page. This can lead to a text-based editing page where participants can structure and format wiki pages with a simplified markup language, sometimes known as wikitext, wiki markup or wikicode (it can also lead to a
Wikis have favored plain-text editing, with fewer and simpler conventions than HTML for indicating style and structure. Although limiting access to HTML and
Some wikis keep a record of changes made to wiki pages; often, every version of the page is stored. This means that authors can revert to an older version of the page should it be necessary because a mistake has been made, such as the content accidentally being deleted or the page has been vandalized to include offensive or malicious text or other inappropriate content.
Many wiki implementations, such as
Within the text of most pages, there are usually many hypertext links to other pages within the wiki. This form of non-linear navigation is more "native" to a wiki than structured/formalized navigation schemes. Users can also create any number of index or table-of-contents pages, with hierarchical categorization or whatever form of organization they like. These may be challenging to maintain "by hand", as multiple authors and users may create and delete pages in an ad hoc, unorganized manner. Wikis can provide one or more ways to categorize or tag pages to support the maintenance of such index pages. Some wikis, including the original, have a backlink feature, which displays all pages that link to a given page. It is also typically possible in a wiki to create links to pages that do not yet exist, as a way to invite others to share what they know about a subject new to the wiki. Wiki users can typically "tag" pages with categories or keywords, to make it easier for other users to find the article. For example, a user creating a new article on cold-weather biking might "tag" this page under the categories of commuting, winter sports and bicycling. This would make it easier for other users to find the article.
Linking and creating pages
Most wikis offer at least a title
Cunningham was, in part, inspired by the Apple HyperCard, which he had used. HyperCard, however, was single-user. Apple had designed a system allowing users to create virtual "card stacks" supporting links among the various cards. Cunningham developed Vannevar Bush's ideas by allowing users to "comment on and change one another's text." Cunningham says his goals were to link together people's experiences to create a new literature to document programming patterns, and to harness people's natural desire to talk and tell stories with a technology that would feel comfortable to those not used to "authoring".
Wikipedia became the most famous wiki site, launched in January 2001 and entering the top ten most popular websites in 2007. In the early 2000s (decade), wikis were increasingly adopted in enterprise as collaborative software. Common uses included project communication,
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the word "wiki" was used to refer to both user-editable websites and the software that powers them; the latter definition is still occasionally in use. Wiki inventor Ward Cunningham wrote in 2014 that the word "wiki" should not be used to refer to a single website, but rather to a mass of user-editable pages or sites so that a single website is not "a wiki" but "an instance of wiki". He wrote that the concept of wiki federation, in which the same content can be hosted and edited in more than one location in a manner similar to distributed version control, meant that the concept of a single discrete "wiki" no longer made sense.
Wiki software is a type of collaborative software that runs a wiki system, allowing web pages to be created and edited using a common web browser. It may be implemented as a series of scripts behind an existing web server or as a standalone application server that runs on one or more web servers. The content is stored in a file system, and changes to the content are stored in a relational database management system. A commonly implemented software package is MediaWiki, which runs Wikipedia. Alternatively, personal wikis run as a standalone application on a single computer.
Wikis can also be created on a "wiki farm", where the server-side software is implemented by the wiki farm owner. Some wiki farms can also make private, password-protected wikis. Free wiki farms generally contain advertising on every page. For more information, see Comparison of wiki hosting services.
Trust and security
Wikis are generally designed with the philosophy of making it easy to correct mistakes, rather than making it difficult to make them. Thus, while wikis are very open, they provide a means to verify the validity of recent additions to the body of pages. The most prominent, on almost every wiki, is the "Recent Changes" page—a specific list showing recent edits, or a list of edits made within a given time frame. Some wikis can filter the list to remove minor edits and edits made by automatic importing scripts ("bots"). From the change log, other functions are accessible in most wikis: the revision history shows previous page versions and the diff feature highlights the changes between two revisions. Using the revision history, an editor can view and restore a previous version of the article. This gives great power to the author to eliminate edits. The diff feature can be used to decide whether or not this is necessary. A regular wiki user can view the diff of an edit listed on the "Recent Changes" page and, if it is an unacceptable edit, consult the history, restoring a previous revision; this process is more or less streamlined, depending on the wiki software used.
In case unacceptable edits are missed on the "recent changes" page, some wiki engines provide additional content control. It can be monitored to ensure that a page, or a set of pages, keeps its quality. A person willing to maintain pages will be warned of modifications to the pages, allowing them to verify the validity of new editions quickly. This can be seen as a very pro-author and anti-editor feature. A watchlist is a common implementation of this. Some wikis also implement "patrolled revisions", in which editors with the requisite credentials can mark some edits as not vandalism. A "flagged revisions" system can prevent edits from going live until they have been reviewed.
Trustworthiness and reliability of content
Critics of publicly editable wiki systems argue that these systems could be easily tampered with by malicious individuals ("vandals") or even by well-meaning but unskilled users who introduce errors into the content, while proponents maintain that the community of users can catch such malicious or erroneous content and correct it. Lars Aronsson, a data systems specialist, summarizes the controversy as follows: "Most people when they first learn about the wiki concept, assume that a Web site that can be edited by anybody would soon be rendered useless by destructive input. It sounds like offering free spray cans next to a grey concrete wall. The only likely outcome would be ugly graffiti and simple tagging and many artistic efforts would not be long lived. Still, it seems to work very well." High editorial standards in medicine and health sciences articles, in which users typically use peer-reviewed journals or university textbooks as sources, have led to the idea of expert-moderated wikis. Some wikis allow one to link to specific versions of articles, which has been useful to the scientific community, in that expert peer reviewers could analyse articles, improve them and provide links to the trusted version of that article. Noveck points out that "participants are accredited by members of the wiki community, who have a vested interest in preserving the quality of the work product, on the basis of their ongoing participation." On controversial topics that have been subject to disruptive editing, a wiki author may restrict editing to registered users.
The open philosophy of wiki – allowing anyone to edit content – does not ensure that every editor's intentions are well-mannered. For example,
The amount of vandalism a wiki receives depends on how open the wiki is. For instance, some wikis allow unregistered users, identified by their IP addresses, to edit content, while others limit this function to just registered users.
Edit wars can also occur as users repetitively revert a page to the version they favor. In some cases, editors with opposing views of which content should appear or what formatting style should be used will change and re-change each other's edits. This results in the page being "unstable" from a general user's perspective, because each time a general user comes to the page, it may look different. Some wiki software allows an administrator to stop such edit wars by locking a page from further editing until a decision has been made on what version of the page would be most appropriate. Some wikis are in a better position than others to control behavior due to governance structures existing outside the wiki. For instance, a college teacher can create incentives for students to behave themselves on a class wiki they administer by limiting editing to logged-in users and pointing out that all contributions can be traced back to the contributors. Bad behavior can then be dealt with under university policies.
Potential malware vector
The English Wikipedia has the largest user base among wikis on the World Wide Web and ranks in the top 10 among all Web sites in terms of traffic. Other large wikis include the WikiWikiWeb, Memory Alpha, Wikivoyage, and previously Susning.nu, a Swedish-language knowledge base. Medical and health-related wiki examples include Ganfyd, an online collaborative medical reference that is edited by medical professionals and invited non-medical experts. Many wiki communities are private, particularly within enterprises. They are often used as internal documentation for in-house systems and applications. Some companies use wikis to allow customers to help produce software documentation. A study of corporate wiki users found that they could be divided into "synthesizers" and "adders" of content. Synthesizers' frequency of contribution was affected more by their impact on other wiki users, while adders' contribution frequency was affected more by being able to accomplish their immediate work. From a study of thousands of wiki deployments, Jonathan Grudin concluded careful stakeholder analysis and education are crucial to successful wiki deployment.
In 2005, the Gartner Group, noting the increasing popularity of wikis, estimated that they would become mainstream collaboration tools in at least 50% of companies by 2009.[needs update] Wikis can be used for project management.[unreliable source] Wikis have also been used in the academic community for sharing and dissemination of information across institutional and international boundaries. In those settings, they have been found useful for collaboration on grant writing, strategic planning, departmental documentation, and committee work. In the mid-2000s, the increasing trend among industries toward collaboration placed a heavier impetus upon educators to make students proficient in collaborative work, inspiring even greater interest in wikis being used in the classroom.
Wikis have found some use within the legal profession and within the government. Examples include the
A city wiki (or local wiki) is a wiki used as a knowledge base and social network for a specific geographical locale. The term 'city wiki' or its foreign language equivalent (e.g. German 'Stadtwiki') is sometimes also used for wikis that cover not just a city, but a small town or an entire region. A city wiki contains information about specific instances of things, ideas, people and places. Much of this information might not be appropriate for encyclopedias such as Wikipedia (e.g. articles on every retail outlet in a town), but might be appropriate for a wiki with more localized content and viewers. A city wiki could also contain information about the following subjects, that may or may not be appropriate for a general knowledge wiki, such as:
- Details of public establishments such as public houses, bars, accommodation or social centers
- Owner name, opening hours and statistics for a specific shop
- Statistical information about a specific road in a city
- Flavors of ice cream served at a local ice cream parlor
- A biography of a local mayor and other persons
WikiNodes are pages on wikis that describe related wikis. They are usually organized as neighbors and delegates. A neighbor wiki is simply a wiki that may discuss similar content or may otherwise be of interest. A delegate wiki is a wiki that agrees to have certain content delegated to that wiki. One way of finding a wiki on a specific subject is to follow the wiki-node network from wiki to wiki.
The four basic types of users who participate in wikis are reader, author, wiki administrator and system administrator. The system administrator is responsible for the installation and maintenance of the wiki engine and the container web server. The wiki administrator maintains wiki content and is provided additional functions about pages (e.g. page protection and deletion), and can adjust users' access rights by, for instance, blocking them from editing.
A study of several hundred wikis showed that a relatively high number of administrators for a given content size is likely to reduce growth; that access controls restricting editing to registered users tends to reduce growth; that a lack of such access controls tends to fuel new user registration; and that higher administration ratios (i.e. admins/user) have no significant effect on content or population growth.
Active conferences and meetings about wiki-related topics include:
- Atlassian Summit, an annual conference for users of Atlassian software, including Confluence.
- OpenSym (called WikiSym until 2014), an academic conference dedicated to research about wikis and open collaboration.
- SMWCon, a bi-annual conference for users and developers of Semantic MediaWiki.
- TikiFest, a frequently held meeting for users and developers of Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware.
- Wikimania, an annual conference dedicated to the research and practice of Wikimedia Foundation projects like Wikipedia.
Former wiki-related events include:
- RecentChangesCamp (2006–2012), an unconference on wiki-related topics.
- RegioWikiCamp (2009–2013), a semi-annual unconference on "regiowikis", or wikis on cities and other geographic areas.
Joint authorship of articles, in which different users participate in correcting, editing, and compiling the finished product, can also cause editors to become
Wikis and their users can be held liable for certain activities that occur on the wiki. If a wiki owner displays indifference and forgoes controls (such as banning copyright infringers) that they could have exercised to stop copyright infringement, they may be deemed to have authorized infringement, especially if the wiki is primarily used to infringe copyrights or obtains a direct financial benefit, such as advertising revenue, from infringing activities.
- The realization of the Hawaiian /w/ phoneme varies between [w] and [v], and the realization of the /k/ phoneme varies between [k] and [t], among other realizations. Thus, the pronunciation of the Hawaiian word wiki varies between ['wiki], ['witi], ['viki], and ['viti]. See Hawaiian phonology for more details.
- Mitchell, Scott (July 2008), Easy Wiki Hosting, Scott Hanselman's blog, and Snagging Screens, MSDN Magazine, archived from the original on March 16, 2010, retrieved March 9, 2010
- "wiki", Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 1, London: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2007, archived from the original on April 24, 2008, retrieved April 10, 2008
- Cunningham, Ward (June 27, 2002). "What is a Wiki". WikiWikiWeb. Archived from the original on April 16, 2008. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
- "Hawaiian Words; Hawaiian to English". mauimapp.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2008.
- Andrews, Lorrin (1865), A dictionary of the Hawaiian language to which is appended an English-Hawaiian vocabulary and a chronological table of remarkable events, Henry M. Whitney, p. 514, archived from the original on August 15, 2014, retrieved June 1, 2014
- "Alexa Top Sites". Archived from the original on March 2, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
- "Wiki Design Principles". Archived from the original on April 30, 2002. Retrieved April 30, 2002.
- Black, Peter; Delaney, Hayden; Fitzgerald, Brian (2007), Legal Issues for Wikis: The Challenge of User-generated and Peer-produced Knowledge, Content and Culture (PDF), vol. 14, eLaw J., archived from the original (PDF) on December 22, 2012
- Ebersbach 2008, p. 10
- Cunningham, Ward (November 1, 2003). "Correspondence on the Etymology of Wiki". WikiWikiWeb. Archived from the original on March 17, 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
- Cunningham, Ward (February 25, 2008). "Wiki History". WikiWikiWeb. Archived from the original on June 21, 2002. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
- Bill Venners (October 20, 2003). "Exploring with Wiki: A Conversation with Ward Cunningham, Part I". artima developer. Archived from the original on February 5, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
- Cunningham, Ward (July 26, 2007). "Wiki Wiki Hyper Card". WikiWikiWeb. Archived from the original on April 6, 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
- Diamond, Graeme (March 1, 2007). "March 2007 update". Oxford English Dictionary. Archived from the original on January 7, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2007.
- Ward Cunningham [@WardCunningham] (November 8, 2014). "The plural of wiki is wiki. See forage.ward.fed.wiki.org/an-install-of-wiki.html" (Tweet). Retrieved March 18, 2019 – via Twitter.
- "Smallest Federated Wiki". wiki.org. Archived from the original on September 28, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
- Ebersbach 2008, p. 20
- Ebersbach 2008, p. 54
- Ebersbach 2008, p. 178
- Ebersbach 2008, p. 109
- Goldman, Eric, "Wikipedia's Labor Squeeze and its Consequences", Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law, 8
- Noveck, Beth Simone (March 2007), "Wikipedia and the Future of Legal Education", Journal of Legal Education, 57 (1), archived from the original on July 3, 2014(subscription required)
- "Security". Assothink. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- Hicks, Jesse (February 18, 2014). "This machine kills trolls". The Verge. Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
- Ebersbach 2008, p. 108
- "List of largest (Media)wikis". S23-Wiki. April 3, 2008. Archived from the original on August 25, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
- "Alexa Top 500 Global Sites". Alexa Internet. Archived from the original on March 2, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
- Müller, C.; Birn, L. (September 6–8, 2006). "Wikis for Collaborative Software Documentation" (PDF). i-know.tugraz.at. Proceedings of I-KNOW '06. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 6, 2011.
- Grudin, Jonathan; Poole, Erika Shehan (2015). "Wikis at work: Success factors and challenges for sustainability of enterprise wikis". Microsoft Research. Archived from the original on September 4, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- Conlin, Michelle (November 28, 2005), "E-Mail Is So Five Minutes Ago", Bloomberg BusinessWeek, archived from the original on October 17, 2012
- "HomePage". Project Management Wiki.org. Archived from the original on August 16, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
- "Ways to Wiki: Project Management". EditMe. January 4, 2010. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012.
- "SusanHu's FOIA Project UPDATE". Archived from the original on May 30, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
- Au, Cheuk-hang. "Using Wiki for Project Collaboration – with Comparison on Facebook" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on April 12, 2019.
- Andersen, Michael (November 6, 2009). "Welcome to Davis, Calif.: Six lessons from the world's best local wiki". Nieman Lab. Archived from the original on August 8, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
- McGann, Laura (June 18, 2010). "Knight News Challenge: Is a wiki site coming to your city? Local Wiki will build software to make it simple". Nieman Lab. Archived from the original on June 25, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
- Wired: Makice, Kevin (July 15, 2009). Hey, Kid: Support Your Local Wiki Archived April 27, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- "Frequently Asked Questions". WikiNodes. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007.
- Cubric, Marija (2007). "Analysis of the use of Wiki-based collaborations in enhancing student learning". UH Business School Working Paper. University of Hertfordshire. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
- Roth, C.; Taraborelli, D.; Gilbert, N. (2008). "Measuring wiki viability. An empirical assessment of the social dynamics of a large sample of wikis" (PDF). nitens.org. The Centre for Research in Social Simulation: 3. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 11, 2017.
Figure 4 shows that having a relatively high number of administrators for a given content size is likely to reduce growth.
- Roth, C.; Taraborelli, D.; Gilbert, N. (2008). "Measuring wiki viability. An empirical assessment of the social dynamics of a large sample of wikis" (PDF). epubs.surrey.ac.uk. The Centre for Research in Social Simulation. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 16, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
- "Atlassian Summit homepage". Summit.atlassian.com. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "SMWCon homepage". Semantic-mediawiki.org. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "TikiFest homepage". Tiki.org. Archived from the original on June 30, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "European RegioWikiSociety homepage". Wiki.regiowiki.eu. June 10, 2011. Archived from the original on August 13, 2009. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "Redwood Music Ltd v. B Feldman & Co Ltd and others". Reports of Patent, Design and Trade Mark Cases. Oxford University Press. September 1979. Archived from the original on October 17, 2022.
- Walsh, Kathleen M.; Oh, Sarah (February 23, 2010). "Self-Regulation: How Wikipedia Leverages User-Generated Quality Control Under Section 230". Archived from the original on January 6, 2014.
- Jarvis, Joshua (May 2008), "Police your marks in a wiki world", Managing Intellectual Property, No. 179 (179): 101–103, archived from the original on March 4, 2016
- Wiki at Curlie
- Exploring with Wiki, an interview with Ward Cunningham by Bill Verners
- Murphy, Paula (April 2006). Topsy-turvy World of Wiki. University of California.
- Ward Cunningham's correspondence with etymologists
- WikiIndex and WikiApiary, directories of wikis
- WikiMatrix, a website for comparing wiki software and hosts
- wikiteam on GitHub