Difference between revisions of "Wikis"

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A wiki is a collection of information brought forth and organized by its users into a number of pages. Content varies from the formal to the informal, but is usually tied to a central theme. A wiki can come in many different forms depending on how much information people know about the topic. For example, with the recent government shutdown, there are thousands of people who have opinions on this topic and would like to contribute to this page. The page has 135 references and goes into depth on how the shutdown will affect all different federal government operations. In contrast to this very popular topic, when visiting the wiki page for my high school, there was one paragraph where only a few users made contributions. This shows how wikis contain a range of knowledge and you may learn a lot on one page, while hardly learning anything on another.
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[[File:Wikipedia.jpg|thumb|Wikipedia's Logo<ref>http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/basics/wiki.htm</ref>]]
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A wiki is a collection of information brought forth and organized by its users into a number of pages. Wikis generally center around a unifying theme, but the content can vary in formality. Depending on the number of contributors and the quality of each contribution, wikis may incorporate outside information, conform to various structural designs or include extensive discussions over content.
  
== History ==
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Developer [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_Cunningham Ward Cunningham] created the software in the early 1990’s in order “to facilitate discussions among programmers.” The wiki software was originally based in the programming industry, but in 2001, the wiki software expanded to include more of the general public. The site Nupedia, whose goal was to create an online encyclopedia, enlisted the help of a wiki to gather information for am encyclopedia. This site was called Wikipedia, which is now number six on a list of most trafficked sites <ref>http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia.org_is_more_popular_than...#Sites_consistently_ahead_of_Wikipedia</ref>. Mittell deemed it “the prototype for the widespread use of wikis across a range of sites.”<ref>Jason Mittell</ref>
Developer Ward Cunningham created the software in the early 1990’s in order “to facilitate discussions among programmers.” Little did Cunningham know how popular the software would become. In 2001, the wiki software escaped the programming industry where it had been primarily based. The site Nupedia, whose goal was to create an online encyclopedia, enlisted the help of a wiki to gather information for the encyclopedia. This site was called Wikipedia. Wikipedia became wildly popular. Mittell deemed it “the prototype for the widespread use of wikis across a range of sites.” (Cite Jason for all of this)
 
  
== Key Concepts ==
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Wikis are entirely created by their contributors. Contributors to any given wiki, through a process of group decision and discussion, decide on norms of form, content, and edits of that wiki. The core nature of a wiki is the ability of any user to add, change or delete the content contributed by any other user. Each page has a "History" where users can see changes that other users have made, reverse those changes, or start discussions about them. The [[Main Page]] option allows for a list of pages included in the wiki, which is often supplemented by a "Search" option used for further navigation. Pages can be linked to each other, to other sources, or to other internet sites. Each page is usually supplemented by a [[Talk]] page where users can organize points of discussion about form or content. In this way, wikis create a sense of community among its users.
  
=== Environment ===
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In fan wikis, for example, the environment can be very social and interactive. Contributors to the wiki share group chats about the show, artist or movie that they share a wiki about. They also share information that holds interest to other contributors of the site.  In addition to the pages about the subject, talk pages allow space for conversation among other fans about the topic at hand.
The environment of a wiki has a lot to do with how the wiki is used. If it is a fan wiki then the environment can be very social and interactive, containing group chats and sharing information that everyone on the page is interested in.  In addition to the article, there is a talk tab where you can converse with other users about the topic at hand. The environment of a normal wikipedia page is usually not as social, considering the only people communicating with each other are the editors, but there is a sense of identity associated with wikis.
 
  
=== Identity ===
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Wiki users identify with the wiki that they edit. Though identity is not formed in the way it is on social media websites, wiki editors can create a certain personal profile based on their participation on the site. Editors of Wikipedia, for example have experience with Wikipedia and know how to back up what they say. Likewise, all types of wiki editors have enough confidence with the topic of the wiki to be able to add or change the content of the wiki. In this way, contributing to a wiki, especially with continued contribution, creates a sense of identity.  Wiki users of a specific wiki form norms of language, usage, and overall literacy that create a sense of community. With the interactivity of its editing properties, users can search each others participation and establish collaborative relationships. The relative anonymity on wikis is also a very important aspect because it places user identity on commonly shared themes and information, whereas sites like [[Facebook]] provide a personal identity based on personal qualities.
Wiki users identify with the wiki that they edit. Though identity is not formed in the way it is on social media websites, wiki editors can create a certain personal profile based on their participation on the site. Wikipedia editors have experience with the Wikipedia and know how to back up what they say. Likewise, wiki editors of any site feel a sense of resonation with the topic to be able to add or change the content of the wiki. In this way, a sense of identity is created.  Wiki users of a specific wiki can form norms of language, usage, and overall literacy that create a sense of community. With the interactivity of its editing properties, users can search each others participation and establish collaborative relationships. The relative anonymity on Wikipedia and other wikis is a very important aspect because it leads to the train of thought that a good page is not based on how well known or brilliant the author is, but rather simply by its own merit. (Site Jason)
 
  
=== Interactivity ===
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On a Wiki page, there is very little interactivity among audience and collective authors. Rather, visitors of a wiki browse the content without contributing to or interacting with the community or the content. These "audience" members see only what exists at the time that they visit. The nature of wikis, however, allows for any visitor to become a contributor and to edit content.
On a Wikipedia page, the interactivity between audience and collective authors is not conversational. The audience enters Wikipedia pages and are faced with a stagnant page. Because of Wikipedia’s openness and free access to the public, the public has the chance to engage with the same content that they are reading.
 
There are also limitations when it comes to the conversations that editors can have. All topics discussed on Wikipedia must be in relation to a Wikipedia page editation. Whether that be wanting to inquire why a post was deleted, or simply trying to understand why someone edited a previous comment. Anything not related to a strictly Wikipedia based discussion will be deleted from the “Talk” space on the site.  Due to these restrictions, conversations are highly limited.
 
  
=== Gender Gap ===
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Wikis' reach and mobility are only bounded by internet access. As long as users can access the site (and have the appropriate permissions) they can participate fully. This means that users from all over the world can contribute to Wikis and interact with each other.
The gender gap on Wikipedia is a huge issue of debate. The large majority of top editors are male, leading many to believe that sexism has entered the digital wiki world.
 
Though there arguably exists sexism in some aspects of Wikipedia, it is certainly not a place where sexism is most prevalent. Ideally, sexism would not exist anywhere in our society, but since it is still a part of our culture, our activism must be prioritized. In other words, we should aim to improve gender conditions by first humanizing areas of life that are most prone to sexism like the workplace. In a time when women ultimately face a trade off between building a family and establishing a career, the workplace is in dire need of gender role improvement (Slaughter, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All). Sexism on Wikipedia is a terrible and unjust phenomenon, but it is not the worst or most groundbreaking case of gender inequality that our society faces.
 
  
=== Wikipedia is…. ===
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Wikipedia and Wiki pages are revolutionizing the concept of encyclopedias. Encyclopedias have to be updated constantly due to their lack of temporal structure. Wikipedia can constantly be updated. For example, if there was suddenly a change in the dynamics of a current world issue, a Wikipedia editor would be able to adjust the information within a page in order to display the correct information. Encyclopedias like ''Britannica'' do not have this option because they are only available in a hard copy. This makes them harder to access for the general public and less reliable in their information, especially regarding current events. This is part of the reason that Wikipedia pages have gained prominence recently and are bringing the demise of the traditional encyclopedia<ref>http://www.pcworld.com/article/251796/has_wikipedia_beat_britannica_in_the_encyclopedia_battle_.html</ref>.
- collaborative
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- platform has mostly been used to document information
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- usually open source, free to access/use/edit
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'''Communities'''
- participation is culturally constrained, especially along gender
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- difference between wikis & Wikipedia
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Wikis can form a variety of communities online, but can also be the result of pre-exsisting communities. Many wikis and their communities are private, much like this very one that our DML class is using. Wikis can be found at the workplace in large companies. Documents that need revision by several different people will often be completed through collaboration [http://i-know.tugraz.at/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/47_wikis-for-collaborative-software-documentation.pdf 4].
- site of debate
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- collective intelligence
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Wiki communities can also be found in the academic world. Collaboration has become an integral part of today's education and online collaborative work using a wiki has become a popular trend [https://elaw.murdoch.edu.au/archives/issues/2007/1/eLaw_legal%20issues%20for%20wikis.pdf 5].
- mutable, impermanent, always in flux
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- asynchronous, but fast enough to be able to seem synchronous
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==References==
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<references />

Latest revision as of 15:55, 6 December 2013

Wikipedia's Logo[1]

A wiki is a collection of information brought forth and organized by its users into a number of pages. Wikis generally center around a unifying theme, but the content can vary in formality. Depending on the number of contributors and the quality of each contribution, wikis may incorporate outside information, conform to various structural designs or include extensive discussions over content.

Developer Ward Cunningham created the software in the early 1990’s in order “to facilitate discussions among programmers.” The wiki software was originally based in the programming industry, but in 2001, the wiki software expanded to include more of the general public. The site Nupedia, whose goal was to create an online encyclopedia, enlisted the help of a wiki to gather information for am encyclopedia. This site was called Wikipedia, which is now number six on a list of most trafficked sites [2]. Mittell deemed it “the prototype for the widespread use of wikis across a range of sites.”[3]

Wikis are entirely created by their contributors. Contributors to any given wiki, through a process of group decision and discussion, decide on norms of form, content, and edits of that wiki. The core nature of a wiki is the ability of any user to add, change or delete the content contributed by any other user. Each page has a "History" where users can see changes that other users have made, reverse those changes, or start discussions about them. The Main Page option allows for a list of pages included in the wiki, which is often supplemented by a "Search" option used for further navigation. Pages can be linked to each other, to other sources, or to other internet sites. Each page is usually supplemented by a Talk page where users can organize points of discussion about form or content. In this way, wikis create a sense of community among its users.

In fan wikis, for example, the environment can be very social and interactive. Contributors to the wiki share group chats about the show, artist or movie that they share a wiki about. They also share information that holds interest to other contributors of the site. In addition to the pages about the subject, talk pages allow space for conversation among other fans about the topic at hand.

Wiki users identify with the wiki that they edit. Though identity is not formed in the way it is on social media websites, wiki editors can create a certain personal profile based on their participation on the site. Editors of Wikipedia, for example have experience with Wikipedia and know how to back up what they say. Likewise, all types of wiki editors have enough confidence with the topic of the wiki to be able to add or change the content of the wiki. In this way, contributing to a wiki, especially with continued contribution, creates a sense of identity. Wiki users of a specific wiki form norms of language, usage, and overall literacy that create a sense of community. With the interactivity of its editing properties, users can search each others participation and establish collaborative relationships. The relative anonymity on wikis is also a very important aspect because it places user identity on commonly shared themes and information, whereas sites like Facebook provide a personal identity based on personal qualities.

On a Wiki page, there is very little interactivity among audience and collective authors. Rather, visitors of a wiki browse the content without contributing to or interacting with the community or the content. These "audience" members see only what exists at the time that they visit. The nature of wikis, however, allows for any visitor to become a contributor and to edit content.

Wikis' reach and mobility are only bounded by internet access. As long as users can access the site (and have the appropriate permissions) they can participate fully. This means that users from all over the world can contribute to Wikis and interact with each other.

Wikipedia and Wiki pages are revolutionizing the concept of encyclopedias. Encyclopedias have to be updated constantly due to their lack of temporal structure. Wikipedia can constantly be updated. For example, if there was suddenly a change in the dynamics of a current world issue, a Wikipedia editor would be able to adjust the information within a page in order to display the correct information. Encyclopedias like Britannica do not have this option because they are only available in a hard copy. This makes them harder to access for the general public and less reliable in their information, especially regarding current events. This is part of the reason that Wikipedia pages have gained prominence recently and are bringing the demise of the traditional encyclopedia[4].


Communities

Wikis can form a variety of communities online, but can also be the result of pre-exsisting communities. Many wikis and their communities are private, much like this very one that our DML class is using. Wikis can be found at the workplace in large companies. Documents that need revision by several different people will often be completed through collaboration 4.

Wiki communities can also be found in the academic world. Collaboration has become an integral part of today's education and online collaborative work using a wiki has become a popular trend 5.

References