A Wiki is a web-based writing space based on the original Wiki Wiki Web. It is typically collaborative, but doesn't have to be. Why do it? To make the WikiWeb, Webs Of Thinkers And Thoughts.

WikiWay: What are its defining characteristics (to me): (see also WikiStandards, WikiWikiWeb:ElementsOfWikiEssence)

  1. browser-based WebApp, so anyone can author from anywhere

  2. uses lite pseudo-markup (SmartAscii), so easy to author, and easy to read in ASCII mode (I often copy stuff over into an MsOutlook note to synch to my Pilot so I can edit offline).

  3. Smashed Together Words method of Automatic Linking makes it easy to build up a bushy hypertext space (Intertwingularity).

  • A WikiWord is a word with an initial cap and at least one other cap in the middle (aka Camel Case - there are various special cases here, but I'll ignore those for now). When the page is viewed, the wiki app checks every WikiWord to see if there's a node in the WikiSpace with that name: if so, it automatically links to it (renders the HTML href); else, it generates a '?' as a suffix to the WikiWord, which if clicked on takes you to an empty form so you can create that node. This provides a Shared Language and Accidental Linking.

  • almost every WikiEngine has a BackLinks feature, which is a way of providing the Two Way Links that Ted Nelson and other HyperText gurus have always wanted to be added to the World Wide Web.

  1. In a Collaboration Ware Context (which is what it was originally designed for), the ability of anyone to edit any page (vs each page having a single 'owner') encourages involvement.

Some categories of wiki (which may overlap) (WikiTypes):

There's a fair amount of wiki-theory discussion at Meatball Wiki.


There are WikiEngines and WikiFarms and Wikoid Spaces.

There is a Wikipedia project to build an encyclopedia on top of a wiki engine. It was noted in the end-2001 Ny Times "Year in Ideas" issue (the article was written by Steven Johnson).

I was thinking that Justin Hall's old stuff is like a manually coded Wiki.

Some wiki sites I want to visit: (MeatballWiki:TourBus)

Things I want to work on next (Jun2004)

Are wikis ugly? need CSS?

Edited:    |       |    Search Twitter for discussion