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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 and delete the work of previous authors. Other typical wiki features include:

The oldest public wiki (the [Portland Pattern Repository]) was created in 1995. [Bo Leuf] and [Ward Cunningham] published a book in 2001 that tries to explain it all: The Wiki Way, ISBN 0-201-71499-X (amazon.com, search).

See also MeatBall:WhatIsaWiki.

Question: I don't get it. What if someone decided to erase large parts of the site, then what?

Answer: Almost all wikis use revision control to prevent abuse and track changes, so if someone decides to erase one or more pages it is easy to "revert" back to previous good version of the "erased page". If someone repeatedly attempts to abuse the system, their IP address can simply be blocked. See WikiErase for more about this issue. Besides, wiki is used when you trust what the other people are doing to the site. And people who access wiki pages usually aren't likely to do a big, massive destruction. (Several wikis allow the administrator to restrict editing of wiki pages, but this is rarely necessary on public wiki sites.)

Question: What does 'wiki' stand for?

Answer: It comes from the Hawaiian word wiki wiki, which means quick.

Question: How do you pronounce 'wiki'?

Answer: My take on this is the Whi in Whip with the key - "whi-key" - others? In the Hawaiian language, it is pronounced "wee-kee".

Question: If I would like to start a WIKI page about the IRS how do I do it?

Answer: Step 1 - Find a wiki that is appropriate for it. (see http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?PublicWikiForums) Step 2 - Search the wiki to see if a similar page already exists. Step 3 - If not, then study the text formatting rules for that wiki. Note the way to link to a new page. Step 4 - Find a page you want people to browse from. Create a link there. Step 5 - Follow the link and start the page by editing it. (Also see WorldWideWiki?:OneBigWiki, or http://www.chat11.com/WikiDirectory, for available wikis)

Question: How long have Wikis been around?

Answer: Since 1995 - the [Portland Pattern Repository] is the oldest "wiki" site. Before that there were systems which allowed some wiki-like behavior (like collaborative editing), but none of them included all of the wiki features described at the top of this page.

Question: Are there any rules at all?

Answer: Yes. No obscene language or using wikis for anything other than what their purpose is. (e.g. Giving your pet's history in detail on a wiki about computers) Also, be courteous and do not delete entire wikis or sections of wikis that do not require deletion.

Question: But where is the WikiWikiSandBox? Go to the SandBox.

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Last edited July 12, 2005 4:34 pm by CliffordAdams (diff)