Saturday, July 18, 2009

 

Understanding Wiki's and Wikipedia

What is a Wiki?

In general, a Wiki is web software, that allows people to easily create, and edit webpages by multiple people (or volenteers) in a collaborative way. The word Wiki itself, comes from the Hawaiian word meaning "fast". If you run a Wiki software on your website, it can be a very fast way to create and edit pages to share with others.

Why are Wiki's Useful?

The full power of a Wiki can be seen by one of the post popular Wiki's called Wikipedia. This free encyclopedia has grown to well over 2 million articles on a wide variety of subjects. Perhaps you remember, when you were young, and you parents had that enyclopedia set of 20 or so books on a bookshelf. Or perhaps, you went to the library to research information for you school project? Maybe you were even one of the lucky ones who had a CD-ROM with the encylopedia on it.

Now, thanks to the power of the internet and Wiki's. You can research all kinds of information quickly and easily.

What are Wiki Problems?

For the most part, Wiki's can be edited by anyone, anonmously. Depending upon the wiki quality guidelines and how well they are enforced, can greatly affect the accuracy of the information presented. Wikipedia is very good at enfocing quality guidelines and a new scan tool (see link below) allows you to somewhat see what persons/companies are editing Wikipedia entries, possibly in a biased way. So when researching information from a Wiki (or even the internet in general) it is important to have several sources to backup your findings.

From the link below you can see a list of Wikipedia edits from the IP Address block 198.81.129.0-255. A quick Whois on this IP Address block reveals these IP addresses are owned by, and administrated from the Central Intelligence Agency. In reality, this only tells us that there are people using computers on the CIA network making some very inteesting wiki edits We can only surmise the specific reasons why. It could just be employees having fun, or part of a some bigger conspiracy theory. Either way, it's kinda of interesting don't you think?

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