What is a Wiki

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A wiki allows a group of people to collaboratively develop a Web site with no knowledge of HTML or other markup languages. Anyone can add to or edit pages in a wiki -- it is completely egalitarian. Anyone can create new wiki pages simply by creating a new link with the name of the page. Pages are connected not hierarchically, but by hyperlinks between pages.

According to the creator of Wiki, Ward Cunningham, wikis can be identified by the following characteristics:

  • "A wiki invites all users to edit any page or to create new pages within the wiki Web site, using only a plain-vanilla Web browser without any extra add-ons."
  • "Wiki promotes meaningful topic associations between different pages by making page link creation almost intuitively easy and by showing whether an intended target page exists or not."
  • "A wiki is not a carefully crafted site for casual visitors. Instead, it seeks to involve the visitor in an ongoing process of creation and collaboration that constantly changes the Web site landscape."

(From Leuf, Bo and Ward Cunningham. The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson, 2001: 16.)


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