What is wiki?

Here we describe what is special in federated wiki, and may thus seem odd, unfamiliar or complex at first. We discuss: writing and modelling as active roles supported by wiki, wiki's function as 'an awareness engine' for writer-users, affordances for mapping and curating, and provision for collectivity and mutuality.

Q: I think fedwiki is conceptually interesting, although maybe not for me at this point. But happy to learn as always.

A: Federated wiki was created 30 years after the original wiki principle was established - by the same programmer, Ward Cunningham. Federated wiki ('wiki' from here onwards) was created for active collaborating and forking of content across a mutually engaging community of contributor-writers - "a chorus of voices". Here's another perspective, from Marc Pierson See Fedwiki in Use

# Writing and modelling Active writing is the focus of wiki, as distinct from passive reading and publishing, which have become the norm in earlier wiki modes. The familiar wiki aims for consensus as distinct from a consciously conducted and assembled chorus. The design intention of facilitating a chorus of voices leads to many of the features that may seem puzzling to a new reader. Navigating in the wiki page lineup

Wiki is **for writing**. Writing in wiki

wiki was also designed (thro plugins optionally included within a page) to facilitate calculations, and processing of data contained within pages of a site - a principle similar to Apple's legendary Hypercard. This **page-to-page federating** within a wiki enables a model to be written, and data to be supplied, as a series of wiki pages, and results to be displayed in some other pages. Wiki is thus **for modelling**. This is advanced use, to be covered under Advanced writing. Advanced writing

# Awareness engine Each wiki is 'a site'. A collection of wikis on a server is 'a farm'. The site-to-site and farm-to-farm **federating architecture** of wiki means that sites and farms can know about activities (writing, editing) on other sites and farms. We might think of wiki in this aspect as an 'awareness engine'. Mutuality is baked-in. Collaborative link

We can see who clones, and if we like their fork of a page we can fork it back. But every wiki has just one owner/writer. It's like a 'commonplace book' or evolving notebook. Commonplace book

# Mapping and curating Given the capacity of a wiki to hold forks or clones of pages in other wikis, wiki is naturally a tool **for curators**.

In a toolstack of tools for organisers and co-makers, wiki counts as a tool in the 'mapping' class of the Extended Trinity of tools. Digital toolstack Mapping & navigating trio wiki is tooled up so we can draw our own annotated custom maps of topics that are of interest (one page at a time), and offer them to others who may want to clone and tweak them.

Page-to-page federating within a wiki means that network maps of links between topics (pages) on a site - like the map at the bottom of this page - can be drawn using the Graphviz plugin tool in wiki Advanced writing

On the matter of digital tools for organiser-makers - the p2p activist 'toolstack' - see Tools for peer-to-peer collaboration and coproduction

# Collectivity & mutuality Of course, a nominated 'registrar' might compile a canonical version from the individual wikis of a community of mutual collaborators. Working in this way is sometimes called 'a pod. Collaborating thro wiki

The capacity for site-to-site federating in wiki enables **person-to-person (p2p) federating**, when writers choose to use it that way.

The origins of all content is tracked, and the fork history is viewable for each page.

You could even use a group identity to distribute the registrar/editor role, being careful about the fact that wiki isn't designed for simultaneous editing by multiple authors.

Whatever . . the individual 'commonplacer' and the collective investigator are both enabled in the federated writing and publishing architecture of wiki.

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