A wiki is a CMS with neat links

Internet | Lexicon
A year ago, a colleague asked for a wiki to be set up at work to accelerate our collaborative efforts. I responded by setting up Drupal, because it can act like a wiki and do so much more (like forums, portal layout comments-on-the-page, user/groups management, etc., and that’s the reason I had familiarized myself with it long ago).


The exit strategy I announced at the start would be that we’d migrate the documents to a more complete CMS when one came along, and we’re in that process now. Still, along the way, I hadn’t been able to attract more people to publish in Drupal. It could have something to do with my office, or maybe it’s because it’s people really need to be told that it’s a wiki. We’ll find out when the replacement CMS gets deployed.

There’s a good compact article from CMS Watch in April on What makes an enterprise wiki? I thought I’d sketch out a concise list of features to compare wikis to CMS’s– and then add it to the definition of wiki on Wikipedia. My qualifications (not that Wikipedia demands any), are that I’m member of Content Management Professionals. Here it is, in 200 words:

Wikis have shared, and encouraged, several features with generalized content management systems (CMS) which are used by enterprises and communities-of-practice. Those looking to compare a CMS with an enterprise wiki should consider these basic features:

  1. The name of an article is embedded in the hyperlink.
  2. Articles can be created or edited at anytime by anyone (with certain limitations for protected articles).
  3. Articles are editable through the web browser.
  4. Each article provides one-click access to the history/versioning page, which also supports version differencing (“diff”) and retrieving prior versions.
  5. Each article provides one-click access to a discussion page particular to that article.
  6. The most recent additions/modifications of articles can be monitored actively or passively.

None of these are particular to a wiki, and some have developed independently. Still the concept of a wiki unequivocally refers to this core set of features. Taken together, they fit the generative nature of the Internet (as scholar Jonathan Zittrain has labeled it), in encouraging each user to help build it. It is yet to be studied whether an enterprise wiki encourages more usage, or leads to more knowledgeable community members, than other content management systems.

I really meant that in the title, "neat links." That to me sums up why so many people find Wiki useful. When you make a neat link (as I do here in Drupal), you can reference it later and make constructive media.
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  • Response summary: 2 comments, 0 Viewpoints
    generativity nartreb Aug 07 ’06 6:06PM
    . thanks. any links? Jon Garfunkel Aug 08 ’06 7:35PM
    . . Groklaw and Zittrain nartreb Aug 09 ’06 3:37PM
    PS nartreb Aug 07 ’06 6:09PM
    . neat Jon Garfunkel Aug 08 ’06 7:39PM
    . . nartreb Aug 09 ’06 3:09PM