background image
facilities for blocking the IP addresses of repeat offenders. It should be stressed that true
wikis are open to everyone
276
, and thereby operate on a trust basis if you are worried
about what other people might do to your content, wikis are not the answer. If, however,
you want your users to be able to contribute their own knowledge to your work, and
to work in a genuinely democratic,
collaborative environment, wikis may
be worth looking into.
277
Every wiki has its own distinct cul-
ture, dependent on the interests and
aspirations of its core user community.
The Urban Tapestries team, for
example, used a twiki
278
wiki to
facilitate group working. As the case
study on this project shows they found
that the online collaboration and infor-
mation space allowed team members to
share research findings, refer to and
update project schedules, and collaborate on documentation.
279
In comparison with other means of publishing, wikis have a unique set of attributes
which make them suitable for certain modes of content, and eminently unsuitable for
others. `Wiki has an attention economy based on publishing. Its function is to direct others'
attention to a subject (or person) you like...The Web is not an interactive medium, so
conflict and conflict resolution (whether competitive or cooperative) are mostly absent.
The Usenet is a different matter. Usenet posts are fleeting and the medium is imperma-
nent.'
280
`Wiki,' on the other hand, `is interactive. It offers whole areas of interaction for
conflict to flourish, as well as conflict resolution.Wiki is also persistent.When we
(re)direct attention, we play a high stakes game.'
281
The first wiki on the Web the Portland Pattern Repository was started in
1995, and now holds thousands of pages
282
.The largest current wiki is Wikipedia, a mul-
tilingual project aimed at creating a complete and accurate free content encyclopaedia.
Started in January 2001, the English version alone now contains 173,826 articles, and
continues to grow.
283
`Knowledge through consensus' would seem to be its tacit motto,
and others seem to agree Wikipedia was quoted as a source in a major newspaper for
the first time in June 2003.
284
Collaborative Mechanisms
and Technologies
155
TWiki
TWiki in Edit mode
276 Although they can be `walled' by the use of registration and passwords.
277 Another form of `attribution-free'Web resources is detailed in Steve Mann,"Cyborg logs and collective stream
of (de)consciousness capture for producing attribution-free informatic content such as cyborglogs", First
Monday, vol. 8, no. 2, February 2003: http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue8_2/mann/index.html
278 http://twiki.org/
279 For more on the Urban Tapestries project, please see their case study in Mobile Access to Cultural Information
Resources, above.
280 http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiAsAnarchy
281 Ibid.
282 http://c2.com/ppr/
283 Correct on November 17
th
2003, although likely to be higher at the time of reading.
284 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20030620/UBRITM/
TPInternational/TopStories
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