Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Wikis and Blikis: Beyond the Blog

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WIKI DEFINITION


"wiki" means "quickie"

A "wiki" is a "swift web".

The Hawaiians say, "wiki wiki", for "rapid, hurried, fast", a term that also designates their airport's buses, speedily moving passengers from parking lots to terminals and such.

"Wiki" is pronounced "wick-eee" (rhyming with "tricky") or "wee-kee" (rhyming with "squeaky".

"Wiki" refers to a web site that users can edit quickly, easily, without HTML, and often without any gateway procedure (e.g., passwords, registration, email identity verification).

Generally, the original pre-user edited versions of all wiki pages are archived. Any text that a stray or serious user revises, adds or deletes to, can revert back to the original or an earlier version.

Users are somewhat restricted in the areas of the wiki that may be edited. Edit parameters are often "chunked", in terms of enabling user-generated edits to be enacted only one subdivision or section at a time.

This is probably done to reduce digital vandalism to the content.

"Wiki" also refers to the software that enables you to create such sites.

A great place to learn about wikis is at a wiki called Wikipedia, launched January 2001, which is also the world's largest wiki:

http://www.wikipedia.org


HOW WIKI WORKS:


Let's say you visit a wiki site.

It looks like a normal web site, except it may be more minimalistic, text-dominated, scholarly, or serious.

You notice buttons you can select/click on that allow you to activate an edit process for revising specific, defined portions of content.

As you view the content, you suddenly notice a statement of "fact" that you believe is in error, or not quite true, or perhaps it's not the best, most comprehensive way of stating something.

You know a way to correct or improve this specific text, based on your (hopefully) superior understanding of the topic.

You click-select a function that enables you to edit the text.

You modify, expand, restrict, or delete the statement.

You preview the edit (if you wish), then click-select the Save Edit button.

You see your change.

Instant publishing strikes again.


WIKI vs. BLOG


How is a wiki different from a blog?

On a blog, generally the only user-generated content is in the form of a comment that is, or may be if it passes moderation or other filters, published on the blog under a specific "post" or article. The article and its comments form a topic "thread" much the same as occurs in online forums, bulletin boards, and discussion lists.

Blogs usually cannot be edited by anyone except the person, group, or company acting as author.

Wikis may contain the content of, and be edited by:

*anyone (until rampant abuse occurs)
(OR)
*anyone except blocked abusers
(OR)
*only authorized editors.

A wiki is typically composed of a high degree of user-generated content, thus is currently used largely for collaborations, compilations, and team project management.


FIRST WIKI


Portland Pattern Repository, the "WikiWikiWeb" by Ward Cunningham, 1995.
A means for keeping track of design patterns by various pattern creators.


WIKI FEATURES include:


1. Title and purpose of wiki site.

2. Person or organization responsible for wiki, with contact information.

3. Content index, directory, or site map.

4. Description of the site as a "wiki", including definition, since many are unfamiliar with this site type.

5. Instructions on how to interact with (revise some content of) the site, including how to obtain a password or other editing authorization (in some wikis).

6. "Sandbox" area: A practice page where you can try editing wiki text, and make mistakes, without interfering with the actual, real wiki content.

7. Wiki Content Proper.

8. Recent Changes Page (usually minus minor edits).

9. Revision History Page: Previous versions of content pages, with "diff" category showing users and editors what changes have occured between revised versions. Administrative editor, and user-editors, can then revert back to earlier version if deemed necessary.

10. Moderator Alert Function: A designated moderator, who supervises the versions, can be alerted to all edits as they occur, to prevent abuse and to approve good edits.

11. No Registration: Most public wikis do not require users to register, login, or obtain a password or other authorization, to input revisions to much of the content.

12. Protected Pages: Vital pages of the wiki that are deemed to not need user edits, and thus are accessible only by administrators of the wiki.

13. Abuser Blocks: Users who add spam, errors, irrelevant text, or other bad content, consistently or maliciously, may be "blocked". Their IP address may be blacklisted. Also, since many Internet Service Providers assign a new IP address for each login, a temporary ban of an entire IP may be implemented as a measure against abusers. Many times an abuser is allowed to "vandalize" a wiki repeatedly, to have a substantial case against them, since it is so easy to revert to good, approved versions of a page.



PUBLIC WIKI LIST

World Wide Wiki at:

http://www.worldwidewiki.net/wiki/SwitchWiki

(AND)

Wikipedia List of Wiki
, at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wiki

BLIKI (or BLOKI)

A blog (weblog) that features wiki support, in that comments may be edited by any users, or authorized users, or administrative editors.

Bliki engine example: SnipSnap

http://snipsnap.org/space/Bliki

This bliki engine has many nice features and is constructed in Java programming language.


First commercial bliki: Socialtext Workspace (2002), an enterprize social software provider.


Bliki, wiki, blog integration information, including PIM (Personal Information Management): WikiWeblogPIM

http://www.ourpla.net/john/wikiweblogpim.html


PIM and CMS (Content Management System) are both types of special purpose databases.

Wikis and blikis are manifestations of the continuing simplification of, and increased user interaction with, online information as implemented as hypertext system web sites.



FURTHER READING:


1. Business Week: "Wikis' Winning Ways"

Article on wiki history, definition, applications.

http://www.businessweek.com/
magazine/content/04_23/b3886141.htm


2. Wiki applications articles by Amy Gahran, CONTENTIOUS blog

http://blog.contentious.com/
archives/category/wikis


3. "After the Blog is Gone: SnipSnap Plays Blikis"

Wiki and blog integration article by Robin Good.

http://www.masternewmedia.org/news/
2004/06/27/after_the_blog_is_gone.htm


4. Wiki Science: How to Start a Wiki

http://en.wikibooks.org/
wiki/Wiki_Science:How_to_start_a_wiki


5. Seedwiki: "collaboration on demand"

Free and Pro-level wikis:

http://www.seedwiki.com

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