Wiki: A Definition A wiki is a website that allows for the creation and editing of a number of inter- connected webpages. For the most part written and edited by users, a wiki is a collaborative website that relies on intercommunication and cooperation to grow.
History of the Wiki The wiki began as a concept in 1994, with the creation of “WikiWikiWeb” by Ward Cunningham. Rather than being a standalone website, “WikiWikiWeb” was a subsection of the main site, c2.com, that allowed pages to be edited directly on a browser and showed the pages’ editing history. The word “wiki” is a Hawaiian word meaning “quick.” •Source: “WikiWikiWeb History” by Ward Cunningham.
In 2001, Nupedia creator Jimmy Wales launched an online encyclopedia known as “Wikipedia.” Unlike Nupedia and other online encyclopedias, Wikipedia did not rely on peer-review or qualified•Image owned byWikimedia individuals to create and edit it’s articles. It wasFoundation. entirely user-driven and user-created, which allowed for Wikipedia to grow much faster than standard encyclopedias. The popularity of Wikipedia began a boom of wikis that lasts to this day. •Source: Wikipedia “Wiki” article.
The Characteristics of Wikis The defining characteristic of wikis is that any user can make or edit pages. This is done by making use of simple markup languages, sometimes called wikitext, rather than more complex coding languages like HTML. This ensures that all users can use the pages and that all pages maintain the same style. By interconnecting the various webpages, wikis also encourage further creation and editing on multiple topics.
An example of the editing history for a typical wiki page. From Wikipedia’s “Vitamin C” article.
Flaws with Wikis Because wikis are so open to editing, they are vulnerable to malicious vandalism and false or erroneous information. Though it is standard procedure to provide citations for information added to a wiki, there is no way of enforcing this, so false information can easily be presented as fact. There is also the problem of “trolling,” users going in and intentionally changing information to be either false or unrelated to the topic at all.
Security Wikis focus on fixing rather than preventing vandalism. By making the wiki easy to edit, they ensure that errors are easier to correct. Wikis normally keep a history of edits made to a page that allow the page to be reverted back to an older version. By inspiring their users to be better informed, the wiki’s user base become more apt at maintaining accuracy when working on the wiki itself.
Sources and Credits All information was drawn from the Wikipedia “Wiki” article, as well as the WikiWikiWeb History. Wikipedia’s Logo and Vitamin C mark up page belong to the Wikimedia Foundation and are used under Creative Commons.