Monday, December 22, 2008

Ways to give

It's really been a really busy season and I've let many things slip-through-the-cracks recently. Maybe you also have felt the time crunch. If you're thinking about something nice, but cheap, that you can give to your favorite wiki creator or wiki administrator, I've got a great idea. You can give your information, your feedback, your opinions, --- your time. Wikis are designed for communities -- they are ideal for collaboration. For 2009, pledge to join a wiki of interest to you and to pitch- in to help. Find a wiki where you can add your expertise or offer a helping hand. Most wiki administrators would love the assistance.

Merry Christmas to all!

Image credit:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Managing site content and wiki vandals

Wikis are great tools for collaboration that allow basically any website visitor to add or to update site content. However, there is a challenge that is common among wiki administrators: the wiki vandal. Wiki vandals visit open wiki sites and maliciously delete or change content (e.g., adding obscene content, falsifying facts) on wiki pages. Here's a little note to the wanna-be wiki vandals: most wikis offer tools to wiki administrators that can easily control the vandalism on the site. A key feature of wikis is the ability to view the history of a page and to revert content. It is generally very easy to restore the deleted content of a wiki page or to remove the vandalism. Such bad behavior is not generally successful in active wikis. Through page watch features, writers and wiki administrators are notified as updates are made on the site. When problems are experienced, a wiki administrator can restrict who can actually update the content of a wiki site on some wiki hosting services. I feel that it's really sad when a wiki administrator must take this step --- because it limits the collaborative features available on the site. Some wiki administrators restrict content additions and updates to community members only. If a community member misbehaves, that community member can be warned (by the wiki administrator or site moderator team through the wiki messaging features) and banned from the site, if necessary.

I have dealt with wiki vandalism several times during the last few months. Today a wiki was added to one of the directories on Everything Wiki, but it lacked content related to the topic and it had some questionable content. I suspected (and confirmed with the community member) that the site had been recently vandalized --- the wiki's admin team is currently working to correct the problem and to implement measures to prevent future vandalism. Earlier in the summer, one individual on a wiki of mine tried to delete a single page -- every day for almost a week-- and posted a comment on the site about his frustration in being unable to successfully delete the content, noting that it seemed to just magically re-appear. That individual finally gave up and went away...probably to vandalize another wiki site. In the last two weeks, a wiki site of mine was attacked by a wiki vandal. The vandal joined as a community member and then decided to attack the site. The vandal added a fictitious page about a virus being on the site and its deletion of the site content. Then the vandal starting editing every page and deleting all the content. Through page watch features, I was notified about the changes to the pages and started my investigation while the vandalism was in progress. I banned the individual from the site and then restored all the content. It was a very frustrating experience. So, unfortunately, restricting edits to community members does not always solve the problems experienced with wiki vandals.

In celebration of today's anniversary of the launch of MSNBC in 1996, I found a video with information and an MSNBC interview describing the Wikipedia Scanner tool. This tool is designed to trace updates to Wikipedia pages. Using publicly available information, the tool is able to identify some interesting facts about who is updating Wikipedia pages. It has identified numerous sinister updates to Wikipedia pages made among corporate competitors.
Who's Hacking Wikipedia

As posted on YouTube by CSPANJUNKIEdotORG
You may recall the resignation of the campaign manager for a Georgia gubernatorial candidate in April 2006 after being accused of changing an opponent’s Wikipedia biography. Wiki vandals -- a continuing challenge that must be managed in open wikis.

Today, I hope that your wiki site stays free of the wiki vandals of the Web!

Image credit: Concurring Opinions blog

Monday, July 14, 2008

Using an online cork board for your wiki community

Sticking information on the wiki for your community

In celebration of John T Smith patenting the cork board on this date in 1891, I began to think how announcements are posted on wikis for the community. Some wikis include an 'announcements' section on the home page to highlight news and events. Others have messaging features which allow the creators, administrators, writers, and even community members to send messages to the community members. Some wiki farms support online to-do lists --- where wiki creators, administrators, and writers can post tasks where help is needed by the community. Sometimes you have a need to post some information or requests that just do not fit easily on any page on your wiki. Lately, I've seen online cork board pages created on wikis. How can these "cork board" pages be used by community members? to share news with others, to post general announcements (e.g., new content, moderator will be away for awhile on vacation), to promote a news or journal article, to request help on a task, to announce a place where community members will be meeting face-to-face, etc. I have used an online cork board page on one wiki to post information about my availability to the other community members. I've recently created a cork board page on one of my wikis -- and wonder how it will be used by the community.

If you've created or used an online cork board page or function on your wiki, post a comment and tell us about it.

Image credit: Pin-artsy at Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Birthday USA!

We're starting our celebration early this year. Taking a little break to enjoy the family. Maybe we'll go fishing and spend some time at the beach too. The grill is already ready! Have a great holiday. We'll be back soon, reporting wiki'd ways to build content and collaborate with your community.

Image credit: RazzleDazzleRecipes

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A million ways to wiki

Wetpaint is nearing an amazing milestone -- one million wikis! To celebrate this occasion, Wetpaint will reward the one-millionth site creator with the chance
to give back to their community and the planet! For one year, Wetpaint will offset the carbon emissions of both the home and car of the creator of the millionth wiki. Wetpaint will also sponsor the carbon offset of a local school or non-profit organization selected by the lucky millionth site creator. Wetpaint is even taking it one step further by offering the package to the referrer of the millionth site, if it's created as a referral generated by an email or a website.

Could your new wiki be the millionth wiki on Wetpaint? Have you been thinking about creating a wiki on the Web? Maybe one for your family, your child's team, your hobby, your favorite TV show, your favorite team, your favorite charity, etc.? Why not create a wiki today on Wetpaint. If your site is the millionth wiki, you'll help the planet Earth plus help a selected local school or non-profit organization. I'd love to be the referrer of the millionth wiki on Wetpaint!!

If you want to know more about wikis, visit the Everything Wiki site. Then, just click on the "start a wiki" link that is displayed at the bottom right corner of any page. If you're ready now, you can create your free website from this blogpost.

Wiki on!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The father of wiki

Today on Father's Day, I cannot help but recognize the father of wiki, Ward Cunningham

Wikis are great tools for web-based content management and collaboration. They easily allow a community to collaborate and jointly create and edit content. The first wiki was created in 1995 by Ward Cunningham, a Smalltalk developer, who conceived it as a quick way to create and share ideas when working. The first public wiki, called the Portland Pattern Repository, facilitates the discovery and discussion of software patterns. Ward's Wiki is still working today. In fact, on its tenth anniversary, it had over 30,000 pages! His site has a lot more information about the history of Wiki.

Most wikis today are really not their father's wiki though. There's been a lot of progress in the world of wiki since Ward Cunningham created the first. Some note key differences from the original wiki concept and often reference Wiki 2.0. The early wikis required technical expertise during their setup -- often requiring customization of open source code. Wikis were initially customized and installed by people with key technical skills and authorities. These individuals would often be labeled as techies, geeks, or nerds by some. After wikis were created, the community members often had to learn a simple, text formatting language, called wikitext or wiki syntax. The early wikis could be updated by anyone, with little to no protection of any pages. You could see the history of changes and revert content, but there was really no option to lock or to protect a page's content. Today, wiki hosting services permit the quick and easy creation of wikis on the Web. There are no technical requirements or expertise needed to create a wiki on the Web using a wiki hosting service. Hundreds of thousands of wikis exist today -- and most were not developed by individuals with technical skills. Most wiki hosting services support a rich text editor and provide a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) interface for its users. In other words, no tags! Wiki users are not required to learn or to use a text formatting language at all. If you can send e-mail or create a document with a word processing software package, you can create a wiki. The early wikis were primarily text-based sites, with many hyperlinks easing the view of related information. Today's wikis support templates and creative site designs, include multimedia, and permit widgets or small applications to be embed, permitting interactivity and dynamic content. Many wiki hosting services allow a creator to protect the content for selected pages and some wikis allow authorizations at the page level. Many wiki hosting services have enhanced community features, permitting its members to create profiles, to send messages to other members, to send compliments to others, and to identify their associations or friendships with other members. The wiki -- a truly great idea -- is continuing to evolve and open the Web to the nontechnical users.

Here are two very short videos by Wetpaint which discuss some of the differences between the original wiki implementation and the ease of creating wikis today on wiki hosting services.

Mac vs PC Parody - Wiki 3

As posted on YouTube by wpseattle

Mac vs PC Parody - Wiki 2

As posted on YouTube by wpseattle

Today, don't be old-school -- give wiki a try, but start with a wiki hosting service, like Wetpaint, to experience the true ease and power of wikis today.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In honor of the reign of the Wiki Queen

Today marks the end of the reign of the great Wiki Queen. Susan Cline announced today that she is officially relinquishing her Wiki crown and stepping down from the throne. She shut down her EduWikiTorial wiki, which has been a valuable resource for many educators as an introduction to wikis and how wikis can be used in learning. Susan kindly endorsed to her community this Wiki'd Ways blog and the Everything Wiki site as resources for information about wikis. I welcome the EduWikiTorial community here on Wiki'd Ways and at Everything Wiki. Through this blog and the wiki, my goal is to describe the easy ways to build web content and collaborate with your community by using wikis -- a shared common purpose with Susan and her wiki. I also encourage you to visit Wiki'd Places, where I hope you will share with me examples of how you're using wikis in education and learning.

Friday, May 9, 2008

So many wiki choices - how do they compare?

Now that you've thought about what you'd like from your wiki hosting service, you may be anxious to learn what wiki hosting services are available to you. We'll be covering many in this blog. However, if you'd like to jump right in and learn of the various available options now, I suggest that you visit one of my favorite sites: Wikimatrix. From Wikimatrix, you can view detailed information about wiki engines and wiki hosting services. Today, it notes that it has information on 102 different wiki engines and wiki hosting services. Don't worry, you are not required to read all the online descriptions of each wiki engine and wiki hosting service. From Wikimatrix, you can compare selected wikis in a side-by-side table. It also has a forum so that you can talk online with other wiki users. However, one neat feature is the "Wiki Choice Wizard" which helps you find wikis that meet your personal needs. By simply answering a few questions, Wikimatrix will suggest the wikis that may be best for your specific needs. The questionnaire doesn't cover everything that you'll need to consider, but it will definitely introduce key questions and provide some example wikis to review.

Image credit: Wikimatrix

Monday, April 28, 2008

Questions to consider in selecting a wiki hosting service

So I've convinced you that a wiki hosting service is the solution for you, but you are looking for the right direction you should take? Well, you can easily have a wiki created in just a very few moments using several wiki hosting services. However, before you take that plunge, take a few minutes to think about what you want from your wiki hosting service.

Here are just a few questions to ask yourself:
1) Are you looking for a free or free-based hosting service?
2) Will you be creating a single site or do you think you might create multiple wikis, if all goes well?
3) Do you want to learn wiki markup (or wiki syntax or wikitext)? Or, do you want to use a hosting service that does not require you to learn and to use tags?
4) Do you have a problem with ads being placed on your wiki by the hosting service?
5) Do you need a private wiki that only those you invite should be able to view?
6) Are you hoping that other users of the wiki hosting service might see your site and join your community too?
7) Do you want to be notified when updates are made to the site content?
8) About how many people do you think will be using your wiki?
9) About how many pages do you think will be created?
10) Do you want to use multimedia (e.g., images, videos) on your site?
11) Are you interested in community features (e.g., member profiles, member messaging, discussion forums) on your site?
12) Do you want to place other applications or widgets on your site (e.g., to conduct a survey, to conduct a poll, online chat, guestbook, music player)?
These are just a few questions to help you start thinking about what you want on your wiki and what features you expect from a wiki hosting service.
Post a comment if you have other general questions that you think should be considered when selecting a wiki hosting service.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Free website hosting on wiki farms - what's the catch?

Wiki farms are sites which offer wiki hosting services. Some offer free hosting and others offer fee-based hosting. Yes, I said free hosting. You may ask, what's the catch? Like me, you've likely observed that there aren't many things in life that are free. As the sign in the posted photo shows, to get free stuff you usually must buy other stuff. And, often you sometimes don't need or even want the other stuff that you had to buy, to get the free stuff!

However, I've got great news for you. I've used three free wiki hosting services and am delighted to report that all indeed have been totally free. I've not been hit 90 days later with an offer to extend my website hosting for a small monthly fee, with my content held hostage until I posted a payment by credit card or PayPal. I've also not been bombarded with pop-up ads or other annoying offers flooding my in-box. You can believe it, there is really such a thing after all as hosting services offering free wikis.

If there's no actual cost, you may be wondering about how the wiki hosting services can afford to be so generous. Well, the free wiki hosting services will depend on the proceeds from the ads that they place on your wiki pages. Many wiki services offer a fee-based service where no ads are posted on the wiki pages. Some fee-based wiki services allow the wiki creator to arrange for ads to be placed on the wiki with revenue going to the wiki organizer instead of the wiki hosting service. If you're planning to create a wiki site for an education institution, but can't host a website which displays advertisements, don't worry. Many wiki hosting services offer ad-free wikis to educators after completing a brief application process.

If you're interested in creating a website, but you aren't a geek and you don't want to sink any cash during the process, a wiki may be your solution. It's a win-win too if you want to work with a group or a community in creating your website.

Stay tuned to this blog for more information on features of wiki hosting services and how to select a wiki hosting service. If you just can't wait, visit Everything Wiki, a wiki site with everything you'd probably want to know about using wikis.

Image credit:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Benefits of wiki hosting services

If you've been wondering since my last post what "Wetpaint" and "PBWiki" are, then today the mystery will be solved. Both Wetpaint and PBWiki are examples of wiki hosting services. They are also often called wiki farms, that is, sites which offer wiki hosting. Wiki farms or wiki hosting services often vary significantly. Some offer free hosting and others offer fee-based hosting. Some require you to use wikitext, a simple text markup language. However, many now offer a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (or WYSIWYG) editor where no markup language, or tags, are required.

What’s the benefit of creating a wiki on a hosted service? Not having to deal with installing and maintaining complex programs to support the wiki functions. If you're not a programmer or if you don't own your own server, then a wiki farm or wiki hosting service is your best choice. Here's a short video from the Wetpaint crew that describes the benefits of hosted wiki services.

As posted on YouTube by wpseattle
Image credit:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wetpaint vs. PBwiki

We all know that wikis are hot and the competition is often fierce in the Web 2.0 world. However, in a valiant attempt to demonstrate how social Wetpaint has become, today the Wetpaint crew sent to the PBwiki
team two cans of paint and a set of new brushes to celebrate PBwiki's fresh coat or updated UI in the PBwiki 2.0 version in beta. PBwiki kindly responded by sending twenty peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the Wetpaint crew.

Gotcha! April Fools! All in the spirit of fun in this Web 2.0 world. :)

Monday, March 31, 2008

Getting people involved, keeping people involved

Ten ways to get people involved and to keep people involved on your wiki

One of the biggest challenges in managing a wiki is getting people involved -- and keeping them involved. In the last post, some techniques were covered on how to get people involved on your wiki and a video series on wiki adoption was provided. Today, I'd like to cover a few tips from some top wiki organizers on Wetpaint, some Super Painters. Here are some techniques they use to get people involved on their wikis and to keep them comin' back for more!

1) Utilize the member messaging features of your wiki service: send a welcome note to new members and keep your members up-to-date on recent updates.
2) Be responsive: answer questions from site visitors or community members quickly
3) Keep site content up-to-date: visitors will not be encouraged to come back if the content is out-of-date and is not maintained
4) Update the site frequently: visitors will return to see what's new
5) Host contests on the wiki: get people involved; create buzz
6) Conduct polls: schedule weekly or monthly voting
7) Create a custom help page for your wiki (rather than hosting help page): make sure they know who to contact for help or for more information
8) Provide good moderation: accept differing points of view, but make sure people stay on discussion point and make sure members do not make personal attacks or call each other names; use 'page watch' features and correct site vandalism on public wikis quickly
9) Promote featured content from your wiki on its home page: provide links to featured pages or articles, discussion threads, contests, or polls
10) Recognize the contributions of your members: feature a top contributor on the home page; publicize a listing of the top contributors; give top contributors additional authority (e.g., moderator authority); send a message of "thanks" to top contributors

Do you have other suggestions for getting and keeping people involved on a wiki? Post a comment on this blog and share it with us.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Build it and they will come

Build it and they will come? Maybe so, but maybe not. One of the challenges in managing an active wiki is getting people involved – and not in just reading, but in contributing to its content. Here's a link to Ross Mayfield's blogpost about an adoption strategy for social software in the enterprise.

Here are some suggestions to getting like-minded people involved on a wiki with you:

  • Post a message on a relevant forum
  • Link to your wiki from relevant newsgroups and message boards
  • Find those who are blogging about your topic and post a comment referencing your wiki
  • Place a campaign for assistance on a relevant Talk Page on other related wikis
  • Work with your wiki host to ensure the code it’s generating is search engine friendly so that it will be found easily
  • Submit your URL to search engines
  • Create relevant tags for the wiki content
  • Volunteer to speak at a local meeting of a club or association related to your topic
  • Put your wiki’s URL in your e-mail signature
  • Ask others who are hosting websites related to your topic to consider posting a link to your site and you, in turn, add a link to theirs on yours
  • In your organization, select a wiki champion, who is knowledgeable about wikis, will be an advocate of wikis as a best practice in collaboration, and will coach employees
Do you have other suggestions? Post a comment to tell us what you think.

Here's a video by Stewart Mader on how to grow wiki adoption:

As posted on YouTube by slmader

You don't want to miss his video series 21 Days of Wiki Adoption

Image credit: Original photo CC by license in Flickr User Start Cooking

Friday, March 14, 2008

Gone fishin'

It's spring break! I've gone fishin'

Since there's no DSL, cable, satellite, or dial-up connection there, I'm going cold turkey from computing for a week!

I'll be back before you know it --- to share more wiki'd ways to collaborate and to create web-based content. Until I return, visit Everything Wiki for everything you might want to know about wikis!

Don't forget me! : ) Subscribe now (free) and you'll know when I return.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In the beginning, wikis began with wikitext

In the beginning, wikis were created using wiki syntax (or wikitext), a markup language that is used to format and to display the content. Wiki syntax is described by some as a simplified version of hypertext mark-up language (HTML), that language mysterious to some, but responsible for the display of content when you visit websites using your browser. On many wikis, you still must know the wiki syntax. Even some wiki hosting services (or wiki farms) require you to use wiki syntax. However, have no fear - hang in here with me...the story has a happy ending for those who don't want to learn codes to create web content. However, the HTML coders of the world may be looking for work elsewhere in the new world of wiki.

For those who choose to install your own wiki engine or who choose to create a wiki on a wiki hosting service that requires wiki syntax, you'll need to learn a little about wikitext. Although there may be a short learning curve on using wikitext to produce a page, it is nowhere close to the learning curve required to learn HTML. I wish I could give to you the cheat-sheet of everything you need to know about wiki syntax on this blog. Unfortunately, there is no standard wikitext used across wiki engines or wiki farms. In the early days of wiki, this was often a complication for people involved in more than one wiki. This lack of standardized formatting across wiki software also makes it difficult to transfer wiki content across platforms or wiki servers.

Wikitext uses ordinary punctuation to format text on a wiki page. Examples of how basic formatting is performed on some wikis are discussed below with some noted differences:

  • Bold text
    Bolding of text may require using HTML tags, such as <> to start bold text, followed by the < /b > to stop on some wikis. One wiki application requires that a pair of two single quotes be placed around the text to be bold. Another wiki service will bold text that is preceded and followed by a pair of asterisks (**bold** = bold).

  • Italized text
    Italicing text is often defined by using a single pair of quotes around the text (‘italics’ = italics) but by underscores on another wiki (_italics_ = italics)

  • Unordered list
    Using the asterisk symbol may define an item in a bulleted list on some wiki applications. Other wikis let you use the HTML tags to define lists (e.g., <_ul_>, <_li_>, <__/>)

  • Ordered list
    Using the # symbol may define an item in a numbered list on some wikis. However, on other wikis, the asterisk (*) is used for an ordered list. Some wikis permit you to use the HTML tags to define ordered lists (e.g., <_ol_>, <_li_>, <_>)

  • Horizontal line
    Adding 4 dashes to the page may define a horizontal line on some wiki applications.

Because of the differences across wiki engines and wiki services, you would need to consult the documentation for specific information about the tags required.

For those who have no interest in learning and using any tags or codes at all, even though it might be recognized as the simplified version, HAVE NO FEAR! You can create super wikis without any knowledge of wikitext. No tags are required! In my opinion, it is really unnecessary to give wiki syntax another thought. Most of the wiki farms today allow you to create a wiki without knowing any wikitext. Some give both options -- for those techie / geeky types who must write code or tags when developing web content. Most wiki hosting services now offer a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor where all you need to do is click on the "Edit" button and type your text. A task bar is generally available for you to easily customize your text (bold, italics), to align your text (left-justified, right-justified, center), and to add lists (bullets or numbers). It's also usually very simple to add images and include links in your content without knowing any tags.

Even if you love coding and enjoy the challenge of using tags, think about your wiki community. When given a choice, choose the most simple approach -- the new approach -- no tags. By using wiki services which don't require any tags or wikitext, your wiki community can expand greatly.

Here's a short video from my friends at Wetpaint that describes how the old approach of using wiki syntax for creating wikis differs from the newer approach:

As posted on YouTube by wpseattle

It sounds like an easy decision to me. For more information, visit the Everything Wiki site for a listing of the popular wiki services and see how many choices you have in creating wikis with WYSIWYG editors. It's hosted on Wetpaint where no tags are required. While there, join the community. : )

Note: Extra spacing and creativity (_) were required around the HTML tags to demonstrate them on the blog -- and they may potentially not display completely.

Image credit: full circle magazine

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A checkpoint - wiki terms you may know

I've now spent a few weeks communicating how a wiki can be used by a group with common interests to collaborate and develop a website easily and quickly. Hopefully you have visited a number of wikis (maybe those identified on my Wiki'd Places blog). Maybe you've even had a chance to join a wiki community, update content, or even add a page to a wiki. I think it's time for a little checkpoint. :)

Try matching the following terms to their meaning and then check how you did.
1. camel case
3. sandbox
4. wiki farm
5. wiki engine
6. wiklossary
7. wikitext

A. a wiki page where new wiki users can play around or experiment in creating or editing content
B. a server or collection of servers where wikis are hosted
C. a concise glossary of wiki terms
D. text without spacing and with mixed capitalization
E. text written in a wiki markup language (i.e., simplified alternative to HTML)
F. a type of software that runs a collaborative wiki system
G. an acronym for new people often victorious
H. an acronym for neutral point of view, a goal for reference wikis like Wikipedia

Don't peek at the answers before completing the task. For more information, visit the wiklossary on Everything Wiki. Post a comment or send me an e-mail to tell me how you did!

Image credit: artofthemix

Answers: D, H, A, B, F, C, E

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wikis at work

Does your desk look like this?
Are you having problems taming the paper tiger?
Do you agonize over what information to keep, where to keep it, and how to find it?
Are you actually referencing the current version if you find what you need in the stack?
Do you have multiple copies of different versions of documents?
Do you know who has reviewed the document and what changes they made?
Do you have the current version, with mark-up where changes are needed, buried on your desk?

Wikis won't resolve all the world's problems in information management and collaboration. However, wikis are currently at work in corporations today. Wikis are increasingly being used by groups inside corporations to:

  • Quickly and easily create a website to manage content
  • Eliminate series of e-mail exchanges with attachments among a group
  • Avoid dealing with complex and expensive groupware in collaborating with others

Many corporate wikis that are for internal use only are hidden behind a network firewall where access is limited. However, some corporate wikis are being hosted by wiki hosting services on the Internet, but are set up as private wikis with restricted access. Some corporations are using wikis to communicate with their customers and with the public, as a key part of their branding.

Here's a short video from Get Connected on how wikis can be used in business:

As posted on YouTube by getconnectedtvshow

Wikis are collaborative tools that can be used in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:

  • To co-author proposals
  • To co-author business plans
  • To communicate initiatives
  • To display static or dynamic information on a website
  • To display frequently-asked-questions (FAQs)
  • To facilitate online discussions of topics
  • To gather requirements
  • To get team members involved
  • To host an intranet or extranet site
  • To organize and manage projects
  • To record meeting notes
  • To solve problems remotely
  • To track deadlines
  • For brainstorming
How are you using wikis at work? Post a comment and tell us all about it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wikis in education and learning

It is difficult to truly estimate the number of wikis currently used in education settings. The use of wikis, a natural tool for distance education, is increasing in education. Wikis are used to facilitate group study or team projects. Wikis are used in a number of ways.

Here's a short video by pbwiki with some suggestions on using wikis in education:

As posted on YouTube by ramitsethi

How can wikis be used by educational institutions (e.g., universities)?

  • to create knowledge repositories
  • to build communities of practice by creating a collective repository of information
  • to build expertise in a subject area, which can be refined over time by the community members and other interested individuals
  • administrative scheduling
  • faculty profiles (e.g., research interests, courses taught, areas of expertise)
  • current events and activities
  • clubs and organizations
  • student feedback
  • journaling
  • establishing and managing study groups, study buddies, and mentor matching
  • student services, such as ride sharing
  • fan sites for teams (e.g., football, baseball)
  • posting job opportunities
  • posting opportunities to participate in research
  • building intranet sites for groups or events
  • posting volunteer opportunities
  • creating a local restaurant directory with reviews

How can wikis be used by instructors or teachers?

  • to post course information such as
    - course syllabus,
    - study resources,
    - external links,
    - assignments,
    - project requirements,
    - project planning and management,
    - project information,
    - frequently asked questions (FAQs), and
    - extra credit projects or assignments
  • to create interactive activities for the students
  • to monitor online discussions among students to determine problem areas
  • to post expert reviews – post student work for general discussion but post a review by an expert
  • to build a collective knowledge base of course materials across school sessions or years

What types of student activities can be supported by wikis?

  • homework hand-in
  • case library of example designs and solutions
  • student advice page
  • build a glossary
  • exam reviews
  • student galleries

Some educators are apprehensive about using wikis because of the ads that are often displayed on free wiki sites. Some wiki services offer services for a fee where ads can be removed. However, some wiki hosting services offer ad-free wikis for qualified educators. Wetpaint offers free ad-free wikis for educators. Also, Wikispaces has been offering up to 100,000 ad-free free wikis since 2007.

Here's a short video created by pbwiki that describes the benefits of using wikis and collaboration in education:

As posted on YouTube by ramitsethi

If you're using wikis in education and learning, post a comment and tell us all about it.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Wiki this! How you can use a wiki

If you have information to share, you can use a wiki. Better yet, if you would like to work with others to create or to maintain information, you can use a wiki. If you can access the Internet using a web browser on your computer, you can use a wiki. You can reach new heights by using a wiki with your group.

Wikis can be used for:
  • authoring teams
  • book clubs
  • classes
  • civic organizations
  • collectors
  • community groups
  • families
  • fan clubs
  • party organizers
  • product reviewers
  • project managers
  • sports teams
  • teams
  • theater groups
  • trainers
  • wedding planners
  • writers
Whatever you or your group does -- just name it, you could probably use a wiki!

What could go wrong when using a wiki?

Wikis are easy to use but sometimes new users are hesitant to jump right in and become contributors. Here's a list of some common excuses for not contributing to the content on a wiki.

Collective editing

Many apprehensive users are uncomfortable with collective editing. The idea that someone can edit your text on the Web really is a key reason why some are hesitant to use wikis. However, the concept does not seem quite as dangerous if you think of your site as a whiteboard. You and your colleagues likely could use a whiteboard to collaborate on the solution to a problem -- all sharing the whiteboard, adding, deleting, and modifying its content until you come to a solution through collaboration. A wiki takes the whiteboard analogy one step further -- consider a room with multiple whiteboards. Each page of the wiki becomes its own whiteboard that users can share and can easily add links to other pages. For those sites where it is necessary to manage or to control who edits the content, most wikis support features like permissions (e.g., page access control) and may also be either public or private (e.g., limited user group).

Misbehavior on wikis

Several common problems have been identified for wikis, or sites which allow anyone to create or to edit content:

  • Spamming - the addition of inapplicable content to a page by individuals in order to increase their websites' page ranking on search engines

  • Content deletion - the deletion of text from a page that was entered by another contributor

  • Flame wars - wikis depend upon cooperation among the community to avoid the flame wars that often plauge e-mail, discussion groups, and blogs. Many wikis either implicitly or explicitly encourage people to contribute material that most people would find objective. The NPOV (neutral point of view) is emphasized on some wikis, such as Wikipedia.

  • Vandalism of content - deliberately and maliciously deleting and/or changing content on the page (e.g., adding obscene content)

In active wikis, you'll notice that such bad behavior is not generally tolerated. I have found that the "page watch" feature, where I'm notified when changes are made to a page, is very helpful in enabling me to quickly handle the spammers and vandals that visit my public wikis. Content is often corrected fairly quickly using the revision history view and the feature to revert content. Also, some wikis provide the ability to "ban" (by IP address) someone from editing the wiki if they are known trouble-makers. Of course, if installed within an enterprise in your corporation (as opposed to a wiki on the World Wide Web), the chances the above bad behavior will occur may be much lower.

When managing a wiki site, you also need to watch for duplication of effort (e.g., multiple pages created on the same topic), inconsistent content, and general neglect (e.g., information is out-of-date). Through an active content development community and attention to healthy usage patterns, you may find the wiki to be very helpful as a realtime solution for easily developing web content and collaborating.

Image credit: Spider's Parlor Productions

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Benefits of using wikis

What are the benefits in using wikis?

If you're looking for solid, quantitative research that proves wikis are the best approach for your team, then I need to tell you that the jury may still be out. However, there is a lot of qualitative data to suggest that wikis are providing benefits to individuals, teams, and organizations.

Some of the benefits suggested by wiki users are:

  • ease in creating web-based content, especially by those who have no technical expertise
  • elimination of e-mail threads among groups to communicate or to obtain information
  • ability to complete real-time updates of web-based content (without waiting for the technical support team to update your web server files)
  • avoiding transfer of document attachments to a distribution list through your e-mail system
  • enabling the ability to always access current information (eliminating problems by referencing outdated documents or attachments that you previously received)

If you use wikis, post a comment or, better yet, tell us your story of how wikis have been beneficial at Everything Wiki.

Image credit: ConsultingAuthority

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why wiki?

So why should you jump on this bus to wiki?

A wiki is a website that may be easily and quickly developed by a community using only the Web browser on their computer. Wikis are easy to use by groups with common interests or communities of practice. Let's say that your group has an idea of a website that it would like to create. You've heard about wikis, but you and your group are definitely not a group of techies and geeks. You're looking for an easy, quick, and cost-effective solution to get your content on the wonderful world wide Web.

Here are some reasons why you may want to use a wiki:
  • Wikis provide a virtual presence. Wikis allow communities to quickly and to easily create develop a Web presence, allowing community members to easily access and update content from virtually anywhere and at anytime.

  • Wikis support a variety of interactions within a community. Wikis support site creators, administrators, authors, and readers; online discussions; and the collaborative development and management of web-based content.

  • Wikis are generally very easy to use. It's usually very simple to post comments or questions about the content. It's usually easy to edit the content or add new pages to a website created using wiki technology. Wikis are great solutions for individuals and groups with little or no technical skills.

  • Valuable content can be created using a wiki. Content which previously has not been available in a central location to the community members or other interested individuals can be included on a wiki. For example, some documents may be available in shared databases; however, those database or groupware systems are often very expensive and may not contain the most recent version. Also, many documents are sitting on the hard disks of the community members and are frequently sent across the network through e-mail systems. Again, who has the most recent version and what changes have been integrated since you last saw the document? Wikis solve most of these content management problems.

  • Connections can be made to a broader subject field. You can easily include links (often called hyperlinks) to other websites within your subject field or to sites in related fields using most wiki applications

  • Wikis support personal and community identities and interactions. Most wikis allow the community members to create a profile about themselves. The communities supporting the wiki are generally clearly defined on most wikis. In addition to users easily adding wiki content and making changes to existing content, messaging is often supported among members on wikis.

  • Wikis support democratic participation. Wiki content changes do not require review and voting by community members. However, wikis provide an opportunity for anyone to contribute to the content. No longer is content developed and managed by a single person when using a wiki -- no more delay between submitting feedback or comments and the changes to the website content. Generally anyone can edit and create content on a wiki, but often community membership is required to circumvent spam and vandalism. There's generally not a lot of focus on the individual authors of the content -- developing the content is generally a group effort, although you can usually view the history of the revisions to content on a wiki page. However, some wikis provide a feature that allows participants to notate their updates (e.g., to automatically add the user name and time of update), which is particularly helpful in discussion threads, brainstorming sessions, and group voting, where implemented.

  • Wikis enable evolution over time. Content on a wiki can be refined over time by the community participants, evolving based on community contributions and online discussions. Wiki content is generally always under construction. It's generally easy to view the prior versions of a wiki page, reviewing the changes previously made and reverting content as needed.

Today I hope that you have identified at least one great reason to give wiki a try. It's easy. It's fun. It's totally free on many wiki hosting services. The question today should not be why wiki? but instead be why not wiki? For more information, stay tuned on this blog or join me and the Everything Wiki community.

The Fine Print: Some functions may be limited on wikis by the wiki organizer in order to prevent spam and vandalism

Image credit: photo by cogdogblog from flickr

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Starting with wikis

In celebration of the 50th running of the Daytona 500 today, I cannot resist to drop the green flag and encourage you to GO and "Start your wikis" today!

Now you know that a wiki is a type of website where its webpages can be viewed and modified by anybody with a Web browser and access to the Internet. Perhaps you want to check wikis out, but you may not be ready to create your own site yet. You might be a bit hesitant to jump in and get your feet wet on the world wide web immediately. Wikis allow people to be involved in several different roles. There are readers of wikis -- those who just visit the site and read the content that is posted by others. There are visitors who find a site of interest and join its community. Community members often have the opportunity to receive and send messages to other members and request notices (or page watches) for changes to pages or articles of interest. Some readers and community members become discussers by posting comments or starting discussion threads about topics posted on the site. Then there are the editors, those who update existing content, revising the text to make corrections or to improve it. There are community members who create new pages or add content to existing pages. Then there are the moderators and administrators which help the creator to manage the site.

Today, I encourage you to jump right in -- go for it. Start small if you like though. Find a wiki on a topic that interests you and start by becoming a community member. Pick out an existing wiki today and give it a try. Post a comment or send me a message and tell me about your experience. Give it a try --- before you know it, you may be a Wiki-Man as described in the below music video!

As posted on YouTube by VeryTasteful

Image credit: SteveParkWeb on Geocities, 1999

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A place for me too - private wikis

As we've already covered, a wiki is a type of website where its webpages can be viewed and modified by anybody with a Web browser and access to the Internet. However, some wikis require community membership to edit content through site security and content control features to combat spam and vandalism. You often have the choice about what content can be updated by others when creating your wiki. For example, you may choose to create a wiki where only people you invite can update the content. You can often restrict others from even viewing your content. So, what would be the purpose in that? Remember, a wiki allows people to quickly and easily develop content without any knowledge of any Web programming language. So, if you have something that you'd like to make available on the wonderful wide world of the Web, a wiki is an easy way to do that.

In celebration of Valentine's Day, let's just think about a few applications where you might use a private wiki or a wiki where editing is restricted.

1. Create a Valentine wiki for the love of your life. Check out the Hopelessly devoted to you, Valentine site on Wetpaint to see an example.

2. Create a wedding wiki, to share the information and news about your engagement and marriage plans with your wedding guests. Tell the story of how you met and how you proposed. Post information about the wedding plans. Post helpful information about places to stay and other travel information for your wedding guests. Post your gift wish lists and locations where you are registered. Allow your guests to post thoughts about you and your fiance and to post best wishes for your new life together. A wiki is a great place for well-wishers who cannot attend your wedding to post their best wishes for you and to be included in the wedding celebration remotely, wiki-style!

3. Create a scrapbook of the life with your soulmate. Post information about your life goals. Post pics and videos of your travels. Create the list of things that you love about each other. Post favorite memories.

Although a wiki is a great place for groups to gather, hopefully today you can see where wikis can be used even if you're a group of one (expressing your devotion to your Valentine) or with a small, targeted group of special people for a very special purpose.

Image credit:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A place for groups: wikis vs. groupware

How do wikis differ from groupware systems?

Groupware refers to programs that help people work together collectively while located remotely from each other. Some examples of groupware systems include Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange, both of which facilitate calendar sharing, e-mail handling, and the replication of files across a distributed system so that all groupware users can view the same information.
Groupware systems are described as "industrial-strength solutions with many collaborative features for corporate needs, but they cost." (from The Wiki Way, p. 12, by Ward and Leuf). These systems cost hard disk space, money, memory, upgrades, and time to learn how to use them effectively. They also often require other tools for Web space creation and maintenance, net-conferencing connectivity, and document creation. Your entire group will need access to the groupware in order to collaborate, which generally involves installing some software on your workstation. In contrast, Wiki is a "light" solution, a simplistic solution with a surprising amount of functionality for the size of the wiki source code and its general low overhead (e.g., a perl package and a Web browser) for those using wiki engines. If you use a wiki hosted solution on the web, a wiki farm, it's the most simplistic solution for you! This means there is no code to install and nothing to support, other than your content and your community! You can actually create your wiki in less than five minutes. I dare anyone to describe to me how they can get their groupware system up and running for a community in five minutes!

Image credit:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A topic for discussion: wikis vs discussion forums

How do wikis differ from discussion boards or forums?

Also known as online bulletin boards or Internet forums, discussion forums are asynchronous tools to facilitate group discussions. They automatically maintain a log of all messages in a threaded, hierarchical structure. Users find a topic of interest, read the postings under it, and enter a response. Discussion boards are often used to post questions and answers and to enable an on-going conversation about a topic. All visitors can view the dialog and benefit from the material discussed without actually participating. However, some users often find that the threads are hard to follow.

How do wikis differ? Well, a wiki is a type of website that allows anyone who can basically use a word processor or send e-mail to develop or to edit content on the site, with no special tools or programming knowledge. Wikis may be used by a group to build a website, each person contributing information on the subject. A wiki permits the aggregation of the views of the many participants. Unlike on a discussion forum, each wiki user may actually update the content posted by other visitors on the website. The content is an evolving work-in-progress by the group, collaborating. However, many wikis also allow their visitors to comment on the content and postings of others through discussion threads or forums. For example, visitors can ask questions about the content posted on the site or make comments about it. The questions and comments and replies posted to them would be typically displayed with the page. Discussion forums are often used by content authors too -- to discuss the approach and development of the content.

Image credit: New York State Music Teachers Association, Inc

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How do wikis differ from mailing lists?

There are many tools available to collaborate with others. A wiki is one form of a collaboration tool. One collaboration tool that preceded wikis is the mailing list. Mailing lists have been used for distributing announcments or information about events. Individuals may subscribe to a mailing list in order to be informed immediately of an announcement. Subscribers receive an e-mail about the announcement and can then reply to the e-mail item.

Why would a wiki be better than a mailing list for your group? A wiki can include an "Announcements" or "News" page on the site. In addition to viewing the announcement, community members can also even refine the announcement content. When you visit the wiki, you can see the date of the last update to the page and can also view the recent changes to the page. Community members can post comments or entries to discussion threads about the content on the announcement page. For example, you could post a question on the announcements page and view answers or comments posted by other community members without sending e-mail to the entire group. Others may have a similar question and can see the responses from your community. If you want to eliminate the e-mail trail about community announcements, wikis may be a great alternative. If you don't have access to your e-mail account, but have access to the Internet where the wiki is hosted, then you would be able to view recent announcements. If you don't plan to visit the site to look for updates, members of the wiki community can generally automatically or virtually "watch" that page for updates. As the content changes, a wiki member watching the page will receive a notice by e-mail which generally provides a link to the page that changed. Updates to a wiki site are often managed through RSS feeds too. Many wikis also provide a means to communicate with its members, often to individuals or the entire group. So, a wiki often has many capabilities of a mailing list, but so many additional features that are not available in a mailing list alone.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A great debate: wikis vs blogs

Wikis facilitate collaboration among community members, who are often a dedicated group of people fairly focused on the content. That's sounds a lot like a blog community too. So, what's the difference between the two? Why would I create a wiki rather than a blog? What the difference between a wiki and a blog?

Here's a neat video of a fictional debate between JFK and Nixon about wikis and blogs:

As posted on YouTube by groupnon

Yes, a wiki facilitates collaboration among community members like blogs. Plus, a wiki (like a blog) is a type of website that allows anyone who can basically use a word processor or send e-mail to develop or to edit content on a website, with no special tools or programming knowledge. However, wiki visitors are encouraged to edit content posted by other users and to create new pages to improve the content of the site. That's not usually allowed on a blog, except for a blog that is specifically set up for a group or team.

For more information about how you can use and create wikis, stay tuned to this blog. You may also visit the Wild About Wikis website. It's a wiki too!

Image credit: Movie City Indie

Sunday, January 27, 2008

How do wikis and conventional web pages differ?

If you are interested in creating a website on the Internet you have several choices to make. A wiki is a quick and easy way to get your content on the Internet. You may be wondering how a wiki differs from a conventional web page.

A conventional web page:

  • has limited editing
  • uses conventional HTML or other programming language
  • does not have earlier versions stored to restore
  • is difficult to add to an existing website
  • does not display the author of the content or its revisions
  • requires special tools or knowledge to create
  • is generally considered "final"
  • typically does not note when it was last updated
  • has high security (not just anyone can update it)

On the other hand, a page on a wiki:

  • has frequent edits
  • uses either a simple text formatting language or does not require any tags at all (a WYSIWYG editor)
  • has earlier versions of its content stored so that pages can be reverted
  • may be easily added to an existing wiki
  • may be created by multiple authors, permitting collaboration on the content
  • requires no special tools or technical knowledge
  • is considered always in progress
  • displays when it was last updated
  • typically has lower security

Simply put, a wiki is a type of website where its webpages can be viewed and modified by anybody with a Web browser and access to the Internet. (However, some wikis require community membership to edit content through site security and content control features to combat spam and vandalism.) A wiki allows people to quickly and easily develop content without any knowledge of any Web programming language.

For more information, visit the Wild about Wikis site.

Image credit: Uso educativo de las TIC

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sharing your passion

Wikis are websites where visitors can easily collaborate and add content without any technical knowledge. There are many wiki hosting services available. Most allow you to easily create a website very quickly. Many are totally free. Generally if you can send e-mail, you have what it takes to use and to create a wiki.

Wikis are perfect solutions for those who want to build a website to describe their passion. Wikis allow you to create a site that can be shared with people all around the world. You can easily create a site to be shared with a community of people that are also interested in your passion. Everyone can easily pitch in to add content, post ideas, ask questions, and communicate with each other. It's easy to add photos, videos, and polls. Music can be added to the site too. For example, maybe you'd like to create a fan site for your favorite band. You can have a music player on the site that automatically plays your favorite playlist of their hits. You can also add other neat features, like online chat, to many wikis. You can add a calendar to the wiki to show a calendar of events. Community members can create their own pages on the site too. Wikis offer so many opportunities for people to share their passion with creativity and ease.

Here's a neat video that describes how a wiki can be used. It describes how easy it is to create a wiki on Wetpaint. It also describes when a wiki might be a better way to share your passion compared to a blog or a message board.

Wetpaint Wikis in Plain English

As posted on YouTube by commoncraft

What's your passion? Are you ready to share it with the world? Give wiki a chance. It's easy. It's fun. It's free.

Image credit: California Republic Stationers

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How did all this begin?

You may have only recently heard about wikis as a new approach to managing web-based content or for collaborating with others. A wiki (pronouced "wickie" or "weekee") is a member of the group of "social software" --- that is, software that provides some level of interactivity between individuals. The first wiki was developed over 10 years ago, actually pre-dating blogs by about two years. Wikis are in their second decade of use.

How did this phenomenon begin?
The first Wiki was created in 1995 by Ward Cunningham, a Smalltalk developer, who conceived it as a quick way to create and share ideas when working. The first public wiki, called the Portland Pattern Repository, facilitates the discovery and discussion of software patterns. Ward's Wiki is still working today. In fact, on its tenth anniversary, it had over 30,000 pages! His site has a lot more information about the history of Wiki. A video is available on Channel 9 Forums with Ward describing how he came up with the idea for the wiki. By the way, the "wiki" name was inspired by the transit bus line at the Honolulu International Airport which is named after the Hawaiian expression for quick (wiki wiki).

The result of Ward's development was the creation of a web-based collaboration tool with applications for use in many areas. Since its creation over a decade ago, dozens of Wiki implementations or clones have spawned on various server platforms, including a number of open source software projects. There are now several wiki engines (the wiki software) available for installing and hosting a wiki. There are also many wiki farms where a wiki space can be hosted (some free and some for a fee) on a server or group of servers where the wiki engine is installed and maintained by someone hosting the central service.

For more information: Ward Cunningham and Bo Leuf authored a book about using wikis.

Image credits:
Photo -
Microsoft Research
Book cover -
Bus -

Ward's wiki

Wild About Wikis

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How do others describe wiki?

  • The ideas of ‘Wiki’ seem strange at first, but dive in and explore its links. ‘Wiki’ is a composition system; it’s a discussion medium; it’s a repository; it’s a mail system; it’s a tool for collaboration. Really, we don’t know quite what it is, but it’s a fun way of communicating asynchronously across the network. (from WikiWikiWeb)
  • The simplest online database that could possibly work. (by Ward Cunningham and also in The Wiki Way, by Bo Leuf and Ward Cunningham, on page 15)
  • A wiki is a freely expandable collection of interlinked webpages, a hypertext system for storing and modifying information – a database, where each page is easily edited by any user with a forms-capable Web browser client (by Bo Leuf and Ward Cunningham, from page 14 of their book The Wiki Way)
  • A “wiki” is a document that is collectively created and maintained. Anyone can edit it. This feature evokes a sense of responsibility and seriousness among most Internet surfers (sometimes this is too much for people). It’s a great means to utilize the Internet community, allowing users to build something useful for everyone. (from Sourceforge)
  • A Wiki is a collaboratively-edited website which many people also view as an anarchistic publishing tool. The distinguishing feature of wikis is that they typically allow all users to edit any page, with full freedom to edit, change and delete the work of previous authors… (from UseModWiki)
  • A Wiki is an online collaboration tool… (from OpenWiki)
  • Wikis are made up of a collection of hyperlinked documents that can be collectively edited using a browser. (Stowe Boyd in Darwin Magazine)
  • the post-it note of the web (the description of OpenWiki)
  • Wikis facilitate collaboration, information dissemination and communal knowledge management in a free-form, yet structured way. (from the New Communications Forum wiki)
  • Wiki is sometimes interpreted as the backronym for “What I know is”, which describes the knowledge contribution, storage and exchange function. (From Wikipedia’s definition)
  • In many ways, wikis are the world’s simplest Web sites. (Rubenking’s article on “Wiki Tools” on PC Magazine in 2003)
  • Wiki, a writable web: Communities can share content and organize it in a way most meaningful and useful to them (Peter Thoeny, WikiSym 2007)

Monday, January 21, 2008

How can you tell if it's a wiki?

A wiki typically has the following characteristics:

  • allows anyone to add or edit pages
  • is designed to be built by members of a community working together
  • has either a simple markup language for formatting text on the page or a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) text editor which does not require you to use any markup language at all
  • saves previous versions of a page for easy recovery from errors
  • supports hyperlinks, where information from other pages or even other sites may be viewed

So, how do you recognize a wiki? Typically when you see an edit button on a web page, that web page is part of a wiki (even if it does not call itself a wiki). However, you may be on a wiki and not see that edit button in some cases. For example, because of spammers and vandals, some wikis require their community members to register on the site in order to add or to edit pages. In this case, there's usually a note on the page that encourages you to participate and tells you how to join the community. However, sometimes organizers will "lock" (or prevent anyone else from changing) pages on a wiki. BTW, you can generally create a 'private' wiki with restricted access too. Wikis are great solutions to easily build web content even if you have a limited community --- you could even be a community of one! (But, what's the fun in that?)

How about an example? Today, take a peek at Bucket Lists. It's a new little wiki that I'm organizing. This week the Wetpaint wiki hosting service is saluting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and his ambition to dream. I've been selected by the Wetpaint Crew as a top contributor and am featured on Wetpaint's home page. Because my new Bucket Lists wiki dares to dream and in an effort to recognize [my] efforts, my just_tonya user name and its avator plus a link to that wiki are posted on the Wetpaint home page. Yippee! I sure look good on that Wetpaint home page. (hehehe) Visit the Wetpaint home page to see me and link to my wiki. Don't delay, it won't be there long. ; ) Better yet, join my Bucket Lists community and let's follow our dreams together.

How does Bucket Lists stack up to the typical wiki characteristics?

  • Yes, it allows anyone to add or edit pages
  • Yes, it is designed to be built by members of a community working together
  • Yes, it has a WYSIWYG text editor. No tags required!!
  • Yes, it saves previous versions of a page for easy recovery from errors
  • Yes, it is easy to add a link to another page or even another site

I have the main menu locked preventing change; it's just something that I want to control for now. This is a typical example of the new wiki . Wikis are not just reference sites, like Wikipedia, either. Wikis are also no longer websites full of boring text and endless hyperlinks to other pages. You can now easily add multimedia content and interactive features to wikis today. Browse around Bucket Lists and you'll see lots of videos. Wikis are now looking more like other non-wiki websites. Hey, more about that later! I shouldn't get ahead of myself. : ) If you can't wait, check out the Wild About Wikis website for more details.

Image credit:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A practical wiki application, in plain English

Ok, so now you have an idea of what a wiki is. But, you may be wondering how a wiki could help you. I bet that you're working on some project or activity with a group. Perhaps you're planning a party, planning a trip, planning a reunion, publishing a newsletter, organizing the car pool, or any number of similar activities involving multiple people. Communication among the group is usually the greatest challenge. For example, keeping everyone up-to-date on current details can be a pain. Usually there's one person who ends up funneling all the information to everyone else in the group. Maybe you all are using e-mail. Or, possibly you are also spreading the news by phone calls and phone messages. Phone-tag and e-mail backlog become challenges on even the smallest project or group activity. For those whose group members have access to the Internet, how would you like a simple, free solution to solve your problem? Try a wiki!

Watch this neat video about a practical application of a wiki, in plain English.
Wikis in Plain English

As posted by Lee LeFever on YouTube on the Common Craft Show

Hopefully you'll join me each day to learn about wikis and how you can easily create and use them. If you're anxious and just can't wait, visit the Wild About Wikis website on Wetpaint.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No, really, what is a wiki?

The video posted yesterday was a humorous view of what people think a wiki might be. However, it really provided no valuable information on what a wiki actually is. Here's a video that I think you'll find to be a lot more informative.

As posted on YouTube by ramitsethi

Simply put, a wiki is a type of website where its webpages can be viewed and modified by anybody with a Web browser and access to the Internet. A wiki allows people to quickly and easily develop content without any knowledge of any Web programming language.

Hopefully you'll join me each day to learn about wikis and how you can easily create and use them. If you're anxious and just can't wait, visit the Wild About Wikis website on Wetpaint.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What's a wiki?

We're not the first people to ask that question! Check out this short video.

As posted on YouTube by bobobluemonkey1

I hope that you picked "none of the above" from the above video.
And, hopefully you'll visit this blog regularly to learn more about wikis and how they can help you easily build web content and collaborate with your community.

If you can't wait, visit the Wild About Wikis site, which has a Wiki 101 section.