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Collaborative Mechanisms
and Technologies
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MUDs and MOOs
A MUD is an environment where multiple logged-in users are provided with interaction
tools, and MUDs have their roots in role-playing games of the Dungeons and Dragons
variety.
270
In these games players identified themselves with a virtual character and went
on a quest involving combat and lateral thinking.The action and communication was
took place as text commands which were entered by the user and textual response that
appeared on their machine.There are now hundreds of MUDs `live' on the Internet,
some of which are even used for educational purposes.
Pavel Curtis, the creator of the first MOO (LambdaMOO
271
), defines a MUD as `a
network-accessible, multi-participant, user-extensible virtual reality whose user interface
is entirely textual.' MOOs (MUD Object Oriented) enhances the MUD concept by pro-
viding participants with access to a built-in object-oriented programming language
allowing players to create new objects. Players can create new virtual settings.While
MUDs employ plain text to communicate with the users, MOOs can support textual,
visual, and other communication metaphors. Similarly to the channels of IRC, MUDs
and MOOs also organise the groups of users along the lines of a spatial metaphor, with
users placed within virtual `rooms'. One example of a MOO for educational purposes is
LinguaMOO: An Academic Virtual Community, which was founded in 1995 by Cynthia
Haynes of the University of Texas in Dallas and Jan Rune Holmevik of the University
of Bergen, Norway, and which serves as a learning environment for students from both
universities.
272
Wikis
273
A wiki
274
is defined as `the simplest
online database that could possibly
work', and takes the form of a collabo-
ratively edited Web site which can be
altered by any user. `WikiZens', as they
are known, contribute to the develop-
ment of the content wikis by adding to
or editing the work of their fellow
authors.
275
While it is surprisingly rare
to hear of WikiZens destroying the
work of others, most wikis have a roll-
back system which allows the recovery
of maliciously deleted material, and
270 See DigiCULT Technology Watch Report 1, in particular the section on Games Technology.
271 http://www.lambdamoo.info
272 http://lingua.utdallas.edu
273 A long list of wikis can be found at http://esw.w3.org/topic/InterWiki.This list is hosted by ESW Wiki,
a wiki dedicated to discussion of the Semantic Web. See the DigiCULT Thematic Issue 3:Towards a Semantic Web
for Heritage Resources, May 2003, http://www.digicult.info/pages/Themiss.php, for more on this topic.
274 The name comes from the Hawaiian word wiki wiki, meaning quick.
275 They are also sometimes viewed as anarchic publishing tools, but in the interests of succinctness.
TWiki
TWiki in View mode
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