by Kevin Matthews
The "wiki" form of collaborative web site, emerging dramatically with the great Wikipedia as its lead example, has to be my favorite cultural technology development of recent years.
Wikipedia is more than just an amazing collectively created web site. It is also the headliner for a huge new phenomenon in collective creativity. More than 9000 wikis have been launched using MediaWiki, the same free, open-source software that runs Wikipedia (and that's just one of the options for wiki software).
These thousands of independent content-oriented web sites, some teeming, address a huge range of topics and an amazing diversity of communities. Among them is our community's Archiplanet wiki, playing an increasingly important role in the ecology of the ArchitectureWeek web sites.
Wiki software has evolved from the version-tracking "source code control systems" that were developed to support "open source" collective software projects like Linux, the Apache web server, and the Firefox web browser. The wiki approach applies the same kind of tracking of change histories (along with several other simplifying techniques) to the creation of content-oriented collective web sites.
In essence, the wiki approach uses complete open version tracking of all edits to a collective web site to replace the top-down, approve-before-posting approach used in most traditional content-management or groupwork systems.
Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...
Home page of the English-language Wikipedia encyclopedia, including more than 2,000,000 articles.
Image: Courtesy Wikipedia.org
The community-created architecture wiki, Archiplanet, already includes more than 100,000 content pages, or "articles".
Image: Courtesy Archiplanet
Click on thumbnail images
to view full-size pictures.