Wiki is in Ward Cunningham’s original description:
The simplest online database that could possibly work.
Wiki is a piece of server software that allows users to freely create and edit Web page content using any Web browser ,wiki supports hyperlinks and has a simple text syntax for creating new pages and cross links between internal pages on the fly.
Wiki is unusual among group communication mechanisms in that it allows the organization of contributions to be edited in addition to the content itself.
Like many simple concepts, "open editing" has some profound and subtle effects on Wiki usage.
Allowing everyday users to create and edit any page in a Web site is exciting in that it encourages democratic use of the Web and promotes content composition by nontechnical users.
According to Cunningham, the idea of ‘wiki’ can be traced back to a HyperCard stack he wrote in the late 1980s.
In the late 1990s, wikis were increasingly recognized as a promising way to develop private and public knowledge bases and this potential inspired the founders of the Nupedia encyclopedia project, which later became Wikipedia.
In the early 2000s, wikis were increasingly adopted in the enterprise as collaborative software. Common uses included project communication, intranets and documentation, initially for technical users.
In December 2002, Social text launched the first commercial open source wiki solution. Open source wiki software was widely available, downloaded and installed throughout these years.
Today some companies use wikis as their only collaborative software and as a replacement for static intranets. There is arguably greater use of wikis behind firewalls than on the public Internet.
A wiki is a body of ideas that a community is willing to know and maintain. That community has every right to be cautiously selective in what it will groom. This particular wiki has been blessed with thoughtful, diligent, diverse and open-minded volunteers, who have invested years learning what works here and what doesn't.
When volunteers tire and depart, others take their place. I remain amazed that this works without mechanically enforced authority. Possibly it works because there is no mechanically enforced authority. In any event, I remain grateful to all volunteers, past, present and future. -- WardCunningham
Putting up a wiki page is like tossing a ball of yarn into a basket of kittens. -- PeterMerel
There is, however, a strong commitment from the WikiCommunity to keeping the Wiki clean and nice. We all use Wiki, so we all try to maintain it in a usable state.
WikiWord s are like ForthLanguage for English. WikiWikiWeb is the most naked embodiment of the HyperLink concept.
A wiki possesses an "edit this page" link that allows a visitor to make changes to the page.
This link is what makes wikis different from Web logs, or blogs, which permit readers to give feedback on a particular comment but prevent them from editing anything but their own postings.
Blogs can be used to build communities of mutual interest, imagine a team of people sitting around a whiteboard, where anyone can add to an idea, edit or erase it, and you've got a rough idea of what a wiki is.
Wikis have generated buzz because of Wikipedia's success, but the medium's corporate potential is just being explored.
Wikis clearly can be used by companies for internal and external applications. For companies that have trouble keeping up-to-date information on a corporate intranet, wikis can enable employees and customers to make changes themselves.
They can also help coordinate internal development projects -- an area in which they have already started to make corporate inroads.
Wikis can also be used to build online customer communities that offer advice and support.
Some companies may balk at the idea of opening up a site such as this to the public, but the trust extended will likely be repaid with increased customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Every reader has control over a wiki's content and can make changes, additions or deletions as they see fit, this lack of centralized control can require a leap of faith for some organizations.
Wikis may seem to be an invitation for anarchy -- an opportunity for online vandals to change or delete valuable content -- but in practice, this rarely occurs.
To prevent important information from being altered or deleted, systems administrators can "protect" certain wiki pages by disabling the ability to edit them. However, even if an important page is deleted or changed, don't worry.
Wikis are online databases of information, and each modification is stored in the database so that information can be restored.