A Wiki Veteran

I would like to say that I am a veteran to Wiki pages as I had to work with them for an entire semester in one of my classes, but I’m sure my knowledge will prove to be in short supply once I begin to read, watch, and learn more about them.

But, what is a Wiki exactly?

According to the mother of all Wikis, Wikipedia, Wiki’s are usually web applications where people can primarily add, modify, or delete content. There are Wiki pages on everything from The Beatles to the state of Texas to the popular show The Office. Ward Cunningham invented the Wiki in 1994 and is co-author to the book, The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web,  which describes the Wiki concept.

Now that you know what the basic gist of a Wiki is, unsure of where to begin? Let’s start slow. With a video even.

The deal is this: anyone can change anything.

And to be honest, this initially startled me. To change or alter a Wiki, you don’t have to own anything, you don’t have to be logged in, you don’t even have to have a glorified need for the information. You can just change it, leave it, and walk away. Now, let’s be mature everybody.

According to Brian Lamb, a project coordinator with the Office of Learning Technology at the University of British Columbia, “wikis are quick because the processes of reading and editing are combined” and “[the] content is ego-less, time-less, and never finished.” Like I stated earlier, you don’t have to own anything to change a Wiki page and Lamb does an excellent job in summarizing just why that is. If you want to follow along, his article is here.

“With open editing, a page can have multiple contributors, and notions of page “authorship” and “ownership” can be radically altered. Entries are often unpolished, and creators may deliberately leave gaps open, hoping that somebody else will come along to fill them in.”

Now that you are up to speed, take a breath, and recite the Wiki Prayer:


“Please, grant me the serenity to accept the pages I cannot edit,

The courage to edit the pages I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

More on Wiki pages coming soon.


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