Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ask Otto: Wiki

 Saw your bites re Wikileaks Otto....................
It leads me to an ASK OTTO.
The “leaks” part is obvious, but what is with the “wicki” ?

They’re big, hairy humanoids that walk erect, wear only a bandolier and whose speech sounds like a chair being dragged across a floor. An accurate description was given by Princess Leia when she said about Chewbaca: “Would someone please get this big walking carpet out of my way.”

Oops, sorry, you asked about Wiki, I thought you said Wookie.

Everyone is familiar with Wikipedia, but the term “wiki” did not originate with Wikipedia.

Some facts and trivia:

• In 1995 Ward Cunningham launched the first user-editable website, the intention being that it would make the exchange of ideas between programmers easier.
• Cunningham named the site WikiWikiWeb, the word “wiki” meaning “quick” in Hawaiian.
“Wiki wiki is the first Hawaiian term I learned on my first visit to the islands. The airport counter agent directed me to take the wiki wiki bus between terminals. I said what? He explained that wiki wiki meant quick. I was to find the quick bus. I did pick up a book about the language before my return home. I learned many things from this but wiki wiki is the word that sticks the most.”

“I chose the word wiki knowing that it meant quick. I also knew that in Hawaiian words were doubled for emphasis. That is, I knew that wiki wiki meant very quick. I thought this doubling was appropriate for my technology's name."

- Ward Cunningham

• From this, the term “wiki” has came to mean any web site that allows users to add and update content on the site using their own Web browser.

(The application used to run a wiki has subsequently come to be known by the name WikiWikiWeb and the website is now known as WardsWiki).

• The WikiWikiWeb played an important part in the development of the World Wide Web and the Internet by enabling persons other than programmers to use their wiki engines to create wikis. The versatility of wikis and their multiple applications is what made them so popular in the Internet's communities.

• The best known example of a wiki is Wikipedia, the largest and most popular wiki.

It was launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, who had also been involved in the development of its predecessor, Nupedia.

Nupedia was also a Web-based encyclopaedia but unlike Wikipedia, it was not a wiki. Its articles were written by experts and were available as free content after having been thoroughly checked under peer review procedures. It was intended to generate revenue through advertising. The thoroughness that characterised Nupedia was also the cause of its demise. It lasted from March 2000 to September 2003 but had only 24 articles available that had gone through the vetting process, with 74 in production.

In January 2001, Nupedia started Wikipedia as a side-project to allow collaboration on articles prior to entering the peer review process. As it grew and attracted contributors, it developed a life of its own, eventually taking over Nupedia, with the Nupedia content was assimilated into Wikpedia.

• According to Sanger:
“.. we decided to relaunch the wiki under its own domain name. I came up with the name "Wikipedia," a silly name for what was at first a very silly project, and the newly independent project was launched at Wikipedia.com on January 15, 2001. It was a ".com" at first because, at the time, we were contemplating selling ads to pay for me, programmers, and servers. It was easy to deprecate ".com" in favour of ".org" in 2002, after Jimmy was able to assure users that Wikipedia would never (at least I think he said, or clearly implied, "never") run ads to support the project."
• Sanger left about a year after co-developing Wikipedia and is now involved in setting up a competitor, Citizendium, a portmanteau of the words Citizen and Compendium.

According to Wkipedia, it was launched in March 2007, emphasises original articles and aims to improve on the Wikipedia model by providing a more reliable encyclopedia. It proposes to achieve this by requiring all contributors to use their real names, by strictly moderating the project for unprofessional behavior, by providing what it calls "gentle expert oversight" of everyday contributors, and also through its "approved articles", which have undergone a form of peer-review by credentialed topic experts and are closed to real-time editing. As of November 2010, it had 15,181 articles, of which 155 had achieved editorial approval, and around 45 contributors making at least 20 edits a month

Find it at:

• WikiLeaks is not affiliated with Wikipedia and has no connection with that site.

Wikileaks, launched in 2006, is an international non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks.

Jimmy Wales, one of the founders of Wikipedia, has criticised WikiLeaks several times for possibly endangering innocent people by revealing their identity in the leaked documents.

Co founder Larry Sanger has gone further: “Speaking as Wikipedia's co-founder, I consider you [WikiLeaks] enemies of the U.S. – not just the government, but the people.”.

Although WikiLeaks was originally a wiki, that is no longer the case. WikiLeaks was launched as a user-editable wiki site, but has progressively moved towards a more traditional publication model. It no longer accepts either user comments or edits.

• Confusion between the names Wikileaks and Wiikipedia has resulted in undeserved adverse criticism of Wikipedia, with a consequent loss of donations and support. Elsewhere, the Wiki prefix has also adversely affected other organisations, such as Wikimedia.

As has been noted, the word "wiki" is a general descriptive term and is not owned by anyone. There are numerous sites that incorporate the word in the name of the site.

• In December 2010, as a result of the current controversial release of confidential documents, Wikileaks posted the following statement on its site:

'Wikileaks' now twice as known as well known as 'Wikipedia' according to Google.”

• The citizens of Australia can rest safe in their beds knowing that Big Brother Government is protecting them from the WikiLeaks threat.  On 16 March 2009, the Australian Communications and Media Authority added WikiLeaks to their proposed blacklist of sites that will be blocked for all Australians if the mandatory internet filtering censorship scheme is implemented as planned. The blacklisting was removed 30 November 2010.

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