Forum OpenACS Q&A: Response to What is a WIKI

Posted by Jerry Asher on

We're not talking about a wiki that has no version control.  I guess that most of the wikis I know of that I have used, the original perl wiki, the various tcl wikis, and the zope wiki all have version control.

I'm not sure what use cases you are looking for, but wikis are very successfully used by the Squeak project,, the Mailman project,, the Tcl'ers project,, the PHP Wiki project,, and by parsimony, a company that I am told offers over 25,000 different wikis, including of course, the all time favorite, the forum satanismus.  You can find out more about wikis and who uses them at

What do many of these projects have in common with OpenACS?  They are communities of disparate and widely separated developers working collaboratively on some commonly used piece of software.  I am not sure in what venues you have found wiki's disappointing, but there is, I gather a sizeable group of users that appear to love them and depend upon them.

One reason why implementing one wiki module might beat out the implementation of all of file-storage, general comments, and related links: with a wiki page, if you want to create a wholely new page, you just type in the link.  The page, and it's versioning history, is created for you.  Type in the link.  Edit the page.

To quote from the php wiki project:

"The addictive quality of a Wiki is that making pages is as simple as making a link to them. If they don't yet exist, the page link will be followed by a hyperlinked question mark; follow that link and you can define the new page."

I've given you some links, may I ask that you explore them once more and reexmine the question: can self-organizing sites work out to be useful?

I like Tom's suggestion that we turn general comments on the /doc and other pieces of documentation at OpenACS.  Regrettably, when this was suggested back in April it died a quiet death and the community moved to using wp as documentation tool in early May.  We quickly wrote four wps and no more have been written in a month.  One problem with using wimpypoint, to the best of my knowledge there is no integration of wimpypoint and general comments yet, so there is no way for users to leave comments about any of the wimpies they read.

Of course, this message itself is just once more around the loop for most of us.  Most of us here participated the first time in April, and then again in May, and then again again in May.