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 Netscape Navigator, 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:
And here are some specialized Wikis:
(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?