I've been looking into Wiki engines some more lately, trying to figure out where to use them and what works about them. I still don't have an answer, but I innately like them for some reason.
NOTE to those new to "wikis" - 1st, "wiki" or "wiki-wiki" is the Hawaiian word for quick or quickly (if you've traveled there you no doubt saw the "wiki-wiki" buses at the airport). Probably the most well-known wiki is the Wikipedia, an online, interactive encyclopedia created, edited, monitored, re-edited, etc. by the users of the encyclopedia themselves. Wiki engines then are the software that allows for the creation of interactive pages where the visitors can contribute and edit each other's work. In many cases, to make things even more "open," the source code (programming code) is also "open," meaning that you can download and improve the wiki engine itself, either for yourself and/or others (at no charge in most cases). Go to the Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org) link for a feel for how this works. It's pretty cool.
The wikipedia has been incredibly successful, with over 500,000 English entries. The biggest down-side to the wikipedia is trust of the information; not knowing, by reputation or credentials, who the editors are; and materials not cross-checked. Yet, I was reading an article where the wikipedia is trusted more than Microsoft Encarta (user survey).
Hmmm…so is it trusted? Or not?
It seems to me that wikis are a great way to interact, much better than blogs for hashing out ideas...what’s the perfect application? An encyclopedia?
Perhaps wikis are best for a company Intranet, or a group of like-minded individuals on the Internet. But if you build it will they come? Who will they be? What will they write. Why?...and if I start one, what can I do to facilitate participation?
Well, as I think this through and learn more, there's a great resource out there at http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiEngines . It's a Wiki. This linked page is a wiki about wikis. This particular wiki was created by Ward Cunningham, the original creator of wikis. There’s some good content there…It's helping me through the process.
Hopefully I will get a handle on Wikis, wiki-wiki!