As another facet to the topic: WikiUses, this page would like to help potential wiki users to sort out whether or when to use wiki technology, and how different configurations can afford or prefer different uses.

NB: Wiki not for collaboration

A platonic ideal of wiki software simply means that it allows easy editing, and easy roll-backs to previous versions (for example, see diffs at the bottom of this page).

But depending on DegreesOfEditorialControl and the WikiConventions? applied on a wiki, different uses can be supported. WikiAsCMS implies that wiki can be configured for use as a non-collaborative tool.

Wiki for collaboration or communication

If you are considering wiki for use in a group setting, first you may ask:

If yes and yes, use a wiki. If no, something else is probably better: see WhatCommunicationSoftwareToUse.

Dedication of the group

Wiki may work best when a group is committed to the task of following the group conventions of a wiki. As implied by this article: [llt.msu.edu/vol7num2/emerging/default.htm blogs and wikis] which shares an interesting take on the subject:

“Such a [wiki] system only works with users serious about collaborating and willing to follow the group conventions and practices. Of course, Wiki sites, like any pages on the Web, can be secured with password protection or other means, but wikis have built-in safeguards against malicious behavior (page changes are logged, page deletions must be seconded to take effect). The goal of Wiki sites is to become a shared repository of knowledge, with the knowledge base growing over times. Unlike chat rooms, wiki content is expected to have some degree of seriousness and permanence.” -Bob Godwin-Jones, Blogs and Wikis: Environments for On-line Collaboration in Language Learning & Technology Vol. 7, No. 2, May 2003, pp. 12-16

The form of a wiki

When applied for group use, wiki reveals its main feature: WikiIsDocumentBased… Each ‘page’ becomes one component of th site.

A blog for example, imposes the form of dated entries on submissions, but wiki sites develop navigation and form through use and context.

Configuring for use

Knowing when to use wiki and knowing how to configure for wiki use are both important. Also, configurations in the software are as important as the WikiConventions? employed.

For example, you might consider the group and the importance of ownership, and emphasize the importance of DenotingAuthor. Or you may want to use the tool for a group reflection, and password protect the entire wiki to keep it from the public.

Here are some examples of WikiUses

Keep in mind

In order to make your wiki work you will need to do some promoting work: IfYouBuildItTheyWillCome; this page shows what might happen if you don’t.

Many of the reasons people might not be using wiki are temporary, based on limitations of various wiki software. As editing faclities get better, and people become more familiar with wiki, we will be able to ask ‘when is wiki right’ for a certain use.

See Also


This page bothers me. Maybe it is redundant and should be combined with WikiUses??

I tried to factor in Lion’s comments, and deleted them as a means of cleaning house.

Ug this page bugs me. I’m mostly worried some poor soul would come to it actually looking for advice, so that is what I tried to make sense of it. But it’s wrong, it’s wrong, I know it… :/


Define external redirect: WikiConventions WikisForBrainstorming WikiForGroupCollaboration WikiForCommunications

EditNearLinks: WikiForDocumentation HyperText