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/ˈwɪki/ (About this soundlisten) WIK-ee) is a hypertext publication collaboratively edited and managed by its own audience directly using a web browser. A typical wiki contains multiple pages for the subjects or scope of the project and may be either open to the public or limited to use within an organization for maintaining its internal knowledge base.

Wikis are enabled by wiki software, otherwise known as wiki engines. A wiki engine, being a form of a content management system, differs from other web-based systems such as blog software, in that the content is created without any defined owner or leader, and wikis have little inherent structure, allowing structure to emerge according to the needs of the users.[1] Wiki engines usually allow content to be written using a simplified markup language and sometimes edited with the help of a rich-text editor.[2] There are dozens of different wiki engines in use, both standalone and part of other software, such as bug tracking systems. Some wiki engines are open source, whereas others are proprietary. Some permit control over different functions (levels of access); for example, editing rights may permit changing, adding, or removing material. Others may permit access without enforcing access control. Other rules may be imposed to organize content.

The online encyclopedia project Wikipedia is the most popular wiki-based website, and is one of the most widely viewed sites in the world, having been ranked in the top ten since 2007.[3] Wikipedia is not a single wiki but rather a collection of hundreds of wikis, with each one pertaining to a specific language. In addition to Wikipedia, there are hundreds of thousands of other wikis in use, both public and private, including wikis functioning as knowledge management resources, notetaking tools, community websites, and intranets. The English-language Wikipedia has the largest collection of articles: as of February 2020, it has over 6 million articles. Ward Cunningham, the developer of the first wiki software, WikiWikiWeb, originally described wiki as "the simplest online database that could possibly work."[4] "Wiki" (pronounced [wiki][note 1]) is a Hawaiian word meaning "quick."[5][6][7]

Characteristics

Visual editing

Wikis can also make WYSIWYG editing available to users, usually by means of JavaScript control that translates graphically entered formatting instructions into the corresponding less," said the Hatter. "It's very easy to take more than nothing."

WYSIWYG editing available to users, usually by means of JavaScript control that translates graphically entered formatting instructions into the corresponding HTML tags or wikitext. In those implementations, the markup of a newly edited, marked-up version of the page is generated and submitted to the server transparently, shielding the user from this technical detail. An example of this is the VisualEditor on Wikipedia. WYSIWYG controls do not, however, always provide all of the features available in wikitext, and some users prefer not to use a WYSIWYG editor. Hence, many of these sites offer some means to edit the wikitext directly.

Version historySome wikis keep a record of changes made to wiki pages; often, every version of the page is stored. This means that authors can revert to an older version of the page should it be necessary because a mistake has been made, such as the content accidentally being deleted or the page has been vandalized to include offensive or malicious text or other inappropriate content.

Edit summary

Many wiki implementations, such as MediaWiki, the software that powers Wikipedia, allow users to supply an edit summary when they edit a page. This is a short piece of text summarizing the changes they have made (e.g., "Corrected grammar," or "Fixed formatting in table."). It is not inserted into the article's main text, but is stored along with that revision of the page, allowing users to explain what has been done and why, similar to a log message when making changes in a revision-control system. This enables other users to see which changes have been made by whom and why, often in a list of summaries, dates and other short, relevant content, a list which is called a "log" or "history."

Navigation

Within the text of most pages, there are usually many hypertext links to other pages within the wiki. This form of non-linear navigation is more "native" to a wiki than structured/formalized navigation schemes. Users can also create any nu

Within the text of most pages, there are usually many hypertext links to other pages within the wiki. This form of non-linear navigation is more "native" to a wiki than structured/formalized navigation schemes. Users can also create any number of index or table-of-contents pages, with hierarchical categorization or whatever form of organization they like. These may be challenging to maintain "by hand", as multiple authors and users may create and delete pages in an ad hoc, unorganized manner. Wikis can provide one or more ways to categorize or tag pages to support the maintenance of such index pages. Some wikis, including the original, have a backlink feature, which displays all pages that link to a given page. It is also typically possible in a wiki to create links to pages that do not yet exist, as a way to invite others to share what they know about a subject new to the wiki. Wiki users can typically "tag" pages with categories or keywords, to make it easier for other users to find the article. For example, a user creating a new article on cold weather cycling might "tag" this page under the categories of commuting, winter sports and bicycling. This would make it easier for other users to find the article.

Linking a

Links are created using a specific syntax, the so-called "link pattern". Originally, most wikis[citation needed] used CamelCase to name pages and create links. These are produced by capitalizing words in a phrase and removing the spaces between them (the word "CamelCase" is itself an example). While CamelCase makes linking easy, it also leads to links in a form that deviates from the standard spelling. To link to a page with a single-word title, one must abnormally capitalize one of the letters in the word (e.g. "WiKi" instead of "Wiki"). CamelCase-based wikis are instantly recognizable because they have many links with names such as "TableOfContents" and "BeginnerQuestions." It is possible for a wiki to render the visible anchor of such links "pretty" by reinserting spaces, and possibly also reverting to lower case. This reprocessing of the link to improve the readability of the anchor is, however, limited by the loss of capitalization information caused by CamelCase reversal. For example, "RichardWagner" should be rendered as "Richard Wagner", whereas "PopularMusic" should be rendered as "popular music". There is no easy way to determine which capital letters should remain capitalized. As a result, many wikis now have "free linking" using brackets, and some disable CamelCase by default.

Searching

Most wikis offer at least a tit

Most wikis offer at least a title search, and sometimes a full-text search. The scalability of the search depends on whether the wiki engine uses a database. Some wikis, such as PmWiki, use flat files.[11] MediaWiki's first versions used flat files, but it was rewritten by Lee Daniel Crocker in the early 2000s (decade) to be a database application.[citation needed] Indexed database access is necessary for high speed searches on large wikis. Alternatively, external search engines such as Google Search can sometimes be used on wikis with limited searching functions in order to obtain more precise results.

History

WikiWikiWeb was the first wiki.[12] Ward Cunningham started developing WikiWikiWeb in Portland, Oregon, in 1994, and installed it on the Internet domain c2.com on March 25, 1995. It was named by Cunningham, who remembered a Honolulu International Airport counter employee telling him to take the "Wiki Wiki Shuttle" bus that runs between the airport's terminals. According to Cunningham, "I chose wiki-wiki as an alliterative substitute for 'quick' and thereby avoided naming this stuff quick-web."[13][14]

Cunningham was, in part, inspired by the Apple HyperCard, which he had used. HyperCard, however, was single-user.[15] Apple had designed a system allowing users to create virtual "card stacks" supporting links among the various cards. Cunningham developed Vannevar Bush's ideas by allowing users to "comment on and change one another's text."[2][16] Cunningham says his goals were to link together people's experiences to create a new literature to document programming patterns, and to harness people's natural desire to talk and tell stories with a technology that would feel comfortable to those not used to "authoring".Cunningham was, in part, inspired by the Apple HyperCard, which he had used. HyperCard, however, was single-user.[15] Apple had designed a system allowing users to create virtual "card stacks" supporting links among the various cards. Cunningham developed Vannevar Bush's ideas by allowing users to "comment on and change one another's text."[2][16] Cunningham says his goals were to link together people's experiences to create a new literature to document programming patterns, and to harness people's natural desire to talk and tell stories with a technology that would feel comfortable to those not used to "authoring".[15]

Wikipedia became the most famous wiki site, launched in January 2001 and entering the top ten most popular websites in 2007. In the early 2000s (decade), wikis were increasingly adopted in enterprise as collaborative software. Common uses included project communication, intranets, and documentation, initially for technical users. Some companies use wikis as their only collaborative software and as a replacement for static intranets, and some schools and universities use wikis to enhance group learning. There may be greater use of wikis behind firewalls than on the public Internet. On March 15, 2007, the word wiki was listed in the online Oxford English Dictionary.[17]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the word "wiki" was used to refer to both user-editable websites and the software that powers them; the latter definition is still occasionally in use.[1] Wiki inventor Ward Cunningham wrote in 2014[18] that the word "wiki" should not be used to refer to a single website, but rather to a mass of user-editable pages or sites so that a single website is not "a wiki" but "an instance of wiki". He wrote that the concept of wiki federation, in which the same content can be hosted and edited in more than one location in a manner similar to distributed version control, meant that the concept of a single discrete "wiki" no longer made sense.[19]

Implementations

Wiki software is a type of collaborative software that runs a wiki system, allowing web pages to be created and edited using a common web browser. It may be implemented as a series of scripts behind an existing web server, or as a standalone application server that runs on one or more web servers. The content is stored in a file system, and changes to the content are stored in a relational database management system. A commonly implemented software package is MediaWiki, which runs Wikipedia. Alternatively, personal wikis run as a standalone application on a single computer.

Wikis can also be created on a "wiki farm", where the server-side software is implemented by the wiki farm owner. Some wiki farms can also make private, password-protected wikis.

Wikis can also be created on a "wiki farm", where the server-side software is implemented by the wiki farm owner. Some wiki farms can also make private, password-protected wikis. Free wiki farms generally contain advertising on every page. For more information, see Comparison of wiki farms.

Wikis are generally designed with the philosophy of making it easy to correct mistakes, rather than making it difficult to make them. Thus, while wikis are very open, they provide a means to verify the validity of recent additions to the body of pages. The most prominent, on almost every wiki, is the "Recent Changes" page—a specific list numbering recent edits, or a list of edits made within a given time frame.[20] Some wikis can filter the list to remove minor edits and edits made by automatic importing scripts ("bots").[21] From the change log, other functions are accessible in most wikis: the revision history shows previous page versions and the diff feature highlights the changes between two revisions. Using the revision history, an editor can view and restore a previous version of the article. This gives great power to the author to eliminate edits. The diff feature can be used to decide whether or not this is necessary. A regular wiki user can view the diff of an edit listed on the "Recent Changes" page and, if it is an unacceptable edit, consult the history, restoring a previous revision; this process is more or less streamlined, depending on the wiki software used.[22]

In case unacceptable edits are missed on the "recent changes" page, some wiki engines provide additional content control. It can be monitored to ensure that a page, or a set of pages, keeps its quality. A person willing to maintain pages will be warned of modifications to the pages, allowing them to verify the validity of new editions quickly. This can be seen as a very pro-author and anti-editor feature.[23] A watchlist is a common implementation of this. Some wikis also implement "patrolled revisions", in which editors with the requisite credentials can mark some edits as not vandalism. A "flagged revisions" system can prevent edits from going live until they have been reviewed.[24]

Trustworthiness and reliability of content

Critics of publicly editable wiki systems argue that these systems could be easily tampered with by malicious individuals ("vandals") or even by well-meaning but unskilled users who introduce errors into the content, while proponents maintain that the community of users can catch such malicious or erroneous content and correct it.[2] Lars Aronsson, a data systems specialist, summarizes the controversy as follows: "Most peopl

In case unacceptable edits are missed on the "recent changes" page, some wiki engines provide additional content control. It can be monitored to ensure that a page, or a set of pages, keeps its quality. A person willing to maintain pages will be warned of modifications to the pages, allowing them to verify the validity of new editions quickly. This can be seen as a very pro-author and anti-editor feature.[23] A watchlist is a common implementation of this. Some wikis also implement "patrolled revisions", in which editors with the requisite credentials can mark some edits as not vandalism. A "flagged revisions" system can prevent edits from going live until they have been reviewed.[24]

Critics of publicly editable wiki systems argue that these systems could be easily tampered with by malicious individuals ("vandals") or even by well-meaning but unskilled users who introduce errors into the content, while proponents maintain that the community of users can catch such malicious or erroneous content and correct it.[2] Lars Aronsson, a data systems specialist, summarizes the controversy as follows: "Most people, when they first learn about the wiki concept, assume that a Web site that can be edited by anybody would soon be rendered useless by destructive input. It sounds like offering free spray cans next to a grey concrete wall. The only likely outcome would be ugly graffiti and simple tagging, and many artistic efforts would not be long lived. Still, it seems to work very well."[12] High editorial standards in medicine and health sciences articles, in which users typically use peer-reviewed journals or university textbooks as sources, have led to the idea of expert-moderated wikis.[25] Some wikis allow one to link to specific versions of articles, which has been useful to the scientific community, in that expert peer reviewers could analyse articles, improve them and provide links to the trusted version of that article.[26] Noveck points out that "participants are accredited by members of the wiki community, who have a vested interest in preserving the quality of the work product, on the basis of their ongoing participation." On controversial topics that have been subject to disruptive editing, a wiki author may restrict editing to registered users.[27]

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