A wiki is a website on which authoring and editing can be done very easily by anyone, anywhere,…

A wiki is a website on which authoring and editing can be done
very easily by anyone, anywhere, anytime using a web browser such as Internet
Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, with no need for special software or other special
requirements. ( Wiki is Hawaiian for “quick.”) Most web pages are less than
perfect. If it is a wiki page and you are annoyed by something, you can just
hit the Edit button and change it! Over time, the site gets better (people
hope)! Here are some examples of wikis that deal with general knowledge:

http://en.wikipedia.org/

www.wikimedia.org/

http://wiki.ehow.com/Main-
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A wiki is a website on which authoring and editing can be done
very easily by anyone, anywhere, anytime using a web browser such as Internet
Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, with no need for special software or other special
requirements. ( Wiki is Hawaiian for “quick.”) Most web pages are less than
perfect. If it is a wiki page and you are annoyed by something, you can just
hit the Edit button and change it! Over time, the site gets better (people
hope)! Here are some examples of wikis that deal with general knowledge:

http://en.wikipedia.org/

www.wikimedia.org/

http://wiki.ehow.com/Main-Page/

And here are some specialized wikis:

http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Recipes_Wiki/

http://webtrends.about.com/od/wikilists/tp/list_of_wiki_sites.htm

www.wikispaces.com/

www.wikia.com/Wikia/

http://wikisineducation.wetpaint.com/

Historical note: The first wiki site was created for the Portland
Pattern Repository in 1995. That site now hosts tens of thousands of pages.

• http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WelcomeVisitors

• http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiHistory

• http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiDesignPrinciples

a. Make a small change on a page on one of the listed sites
or on some other wiki site you have identified. Submit your change, and note
the results. Anyone navigating to that site will now see your change. Did you
know that website authoring could be that easy? Are you surprised that someone
would unconditionally open up his or her website for anyone to edit?

b. Since you can make any change you wish, even something
totally nonsensical or simply wrong, it’s obviously possible for incorrect or
misleading content to appear on a wiki. Given that, why do you think that wikis
have become so popular and so widespread?

c. How significant a problem do you think vandalism and
other acts of poor citizenship might be on “open” wikis? How can you find out?

d. Some wikis contend with the threat of vandalism by
requiring that a password be provided before a user is allowed to make changes.
What advantages can you see to this approach? What disadvantages? Do you think
the advantages of password protection outweigh the disadvantages? What do the
wikis you browse through have to say about this issue?

e. What measures do you think an online shared space can
take to limit the potential damage from vandalism, while not being overly
restrictive?

f. If you knew that a particular person was defacing a wiki,
what would you do about it? Report the person? Wait for the vandal to get bored
and turn his or her mischief elsewhere? Or try to reform the person? Are the
basic ethical considerations here the same as those regarding other forms of
vandalism in our society?

g. Do you think that open-access systems such as
unrestricted wikis will become more common over time, or do you think that
abuse of such systems will destroy their usefulness and that wikis will
eventually disappear?

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