A wiki is a collaborative environment which allows people to quickly edit content on a website. Wikis can be a tool used by communities, or can themselves be the hub of a community.
The main features of a wiki are:
- The ability for anyone to create and edit pages
- A simple form of text markup to format and link between pages, without needing to know HTML. (Some wikis even include a WYSIWYG editor.)
Other common features include:
- User registration and login (some wikis allow anonymous edits, but most prefer to track editors by username)
- A page, often accompanied by an RSS feed, showing recent changes on the wiki
- The ability to upload images or other media to share via the wiki
See Wiki software for more information about the software used to run wikis and hosted wiki solutions.
Examplesmedia wiki Edit
Best practices Edit
- Create an "about" page that explains the purpose or Mission of your wiki, and link it prominently on your wiki's front page
- Use your front page to showcase the scope and nature of your wiki
- When first starting your wiki, sit down and create around 50 pages (even if they're only stubs) as groundwork to show new contributors what sort of content you're looking for.
- Make lots of places for people to contribute. "Red links" (or however else your wiki software denotes unwritten pages) invite people to click on them and fill them in. Or you can add messages like "Add yours here!" to the bottom of lists, encouraging people to suggest new items.
- Constantly re-iterate the fact that anyone can edit pages on the wiki. Be very clear and inviting, because people are often hesitant to edit and may think that they're not allowed.
- Make sure there are useful Help links on the editing page, to help people learn wiki syntax
- Follow the "Recent Changes" page closely, and be prompt in dealing with Spam or wiki vandalism. (Most wikis offer an RSS feed of changes, which you can add to your preferred RSS reader or aggregator.)
- Wiki gardening is the process of constantly weeding, pruning, and tending your wiki to make it as attractive and useful as it can be. Be diligent in doing this, and encourage other community members to help you. Lack of maintenance can lead to the Broken window effect.
- Don't be a control freak. Especially in the early stages, you should gently guide the wiki into shape, but as the wiki grows you should let the community decide what form it should take. Constantly correcting, deleting, or reverting other people's edits can make them hesitant to contribute.
- Delegate or share Administrator privileges with your most active wiki editors
- Keep your Wiki software up to date to avoid Security issues.