| wiki wiki
asynchronously across the net
"The ideas of 'Wiki' may seem strange at first, but dive in
and explore its links. 'Wiki' is a composition system; it's a discussion
medium; it's a repository; it's a mail system; it's a tool for collaboration.
Really, we don't know quite what it is, but it's a fun way of communicating
asynchronously across the network," said Ward Cunningham. Ward
is well known for his contributions to the developing practice of
object-oriented programming, the variation called Extreme Programming,
and the communities hosted by his WikiWikiWeb.
The first ever wiki site, founded in 1995, is dedicated to programming
(Pattern Languages of Programs). Ward explains that "I created
the site and the WikiWikiWeb machinery that operates it. I chose
wiki-wiki as an alliterative substitute for quick and thereby avoided
naming this stuff quick-web. An early page, WikiWikiHyperCard, traces
wiki ideas back to a HyperCard stack I wrote in the late 80's...
PatrickMueller wrote probably the first WikiWikiClone"
A distinct Wiki culture forms around wiki tools:
- Any and all information can be deleted by anyone. Wiki pages
represent nothing but discussion and consensus because it's much
easier to delete flames, spam and trivia than to indulge them. What
remains is naturally meaningful.
- Anyone can play. This sounds like a recipe for low signal - surely
wiki gets hit by the unwashed masses as often as any other site.
But to make any sort of impact on wiki you need to be able to generate
content. So anyone can play, but only good players have any desire
to keep playing.
- Wiki is not WYSIWYG. Contra the dumbing down of programming,
it's an intelligence test of sorts to be able to edit a wiki page.
It's not rocket science, but it doesn't appeal to the TV-watchers.
If it doesn't appeal, they don't participate, which leaves those
of us who read and write to get on with rational discourse.
- Wiki is far from real time. Folk have time to think, often days
or weeks, before they follow up some wiki page. So what people write
original wiki site*