What is a wiki?

A wiki […] is a hypertext publication collaboratively edited and managed by its own audience directly using a web browser. A typical wiki contains multiple pages for the subjects or scope of the project and may be either open to the public or limited to use within an organization for maintaining its internal knowledge base.

Wikis are enabled by wiki software, otherwise known as wiki engines. [… They] have little inherent structure, allowing structure to emerge according to the needs of the users. Wiki engines usually allow content to be written using a simplified markup language and sometimes edited with the help of a rich-text editor. There are dozens of different wiki engines in use, both standalone and part of other software, such as bug tracking systems. Some wiki engines are open source, whereas others are proprietary. […]

Ward Cunningham, the developer of the first wiki software, WikiWikiWeb, originally described wiki as “the simplest online database that could possibly work.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki

Drawing of WikiWikiBus

WikiWikiWeb got its name when Cunningham remembered the “Wiki Wiki Shuttle” bus at Honolulu International Airport meant for quick transportation between the airport's terminals.

This is a short list of characteristics of a wiki in general which is by no means complete.

  • Forms one central hub of interconnected information
  • Starts small and unstructured
  • Allows for continual expansion, modification and structurization
  • Allows for storage of many kinds of digital assets
  • Stores historical versions for safety and archival purposes
  • Registers who wrote what and when
  • Allows for collaboration on many subjects
  • Enables to search for information in several ways
  • Needs continuous attention to keep information up-to-date!

That last characteristic should not be taken lightly.

  • content/what_is_a_wiki.txt
  • Last modified: 2021/02/02 15:58