The use of the term WikiWikiWeb nowadays suggests a Web of Wikis. If it is that, what you are looking for, you might try
This page cries for refactoring and further work:
WikiWikiWeb has Edit control implemented since Mar05. There is a "Type the code word here" entry if you go into Edit mode. If the site is manned, then there is also a number which serves as the key you can use to edit pages. If not, you just have to wait until it becomes available again. [That can take quite a while. I've been checking basically at least once every 12 hours for the past week, and only had a chance to contribute once in that time, and ran out of time half-way through my accumulated edits. Yet the spammers still manage to get through.]
WikiWikiWeb is the original and wildly successful Wiki was created by WardCunningham in 1995:
This wiki (MeatballWiki and the underlying UseMod wiki engine) has been crafted after it.
The WikiWikiWeb was originally about people, projects, and patterns. The pattern stuff that was on wiki's mind circa '95-'97 was pretty groovy. Then it took a turn for XP. It is probably more suitable for Information and Communications Technology workers with a broad interest, e.g. topics on programming, computer security, management concerns, etc., all have its proponents.
The original Wiki's design goals were simplicity and functionality. While it may at first seem to be fairly poorly designed, what you perceive are "misbugs." That is, they were intended to be that way for the greater good.
Wow, this Wiki concept is really really weird. I am still shocked by how well it works, especially at Wikipedia. Where's the Chaos? Is someone patching all the holes left by vandals? Aren't there any vandals?
The presence of RecentChanges, and RecentChangesJunkies in the audience, seems to keep a lid on vandalism. Chaos is kind of baked in on many wikis, though.
The term "WardsWiki" means "WikiWiki is WardCunningham's wiki," although he has more wikis. Consequently, the term really only gains its meaning within WikiWiki itself. It's an appeal to authority, originally appearing on Wiki:ItsWardsWiki, an outgrowth of yet another flame war. Actually, it's more like an appeal to God, because like God, only other individuals ever exercise (borrow) Ward's authority, never (rarely) Ward himself. Appeals to ownership are ineffective; community reactions are poor.
The best term is WikiWiki.
An excellent example would be the [former] lack of VersionHistory. Many Wiki:WikiWikiClones have implemented a form of version history instead of leaving only the last changed version. However, with full history, the medium will never forget what you said. We want to emphasize content now, not then. A shift in focus seems like a heavy price to pay just for a little security.
I disagree on the wisdom of having no VersionHistory. Once I thought that it would increase the community feeling because of the need to protect the common content. But it doesn't work that way. Most users are not aware that it is their job to protect the common content. So often damage is done. One bad example is the fate of Wiki:WhyWikiWorks; so, I think Ward is wrong in this case. VersionHistory is a valuable feature that is good for the community. Hide it if you want. Hide it except for admins if you want. But have it working in case you need it. Just my EUR 0.02. [first half of 2002] -- HelmutLeitner
VersionHistory takes away from how humans minds think in abstract ways. Why be confined with "one line of thought" when your mind sees so many other avenues? This allows all the ability to see things and progress to the next level of conversation. Growth in community conversation. Cool. -- JimStoffel?
On the other hand, Wiki has had trouble scaling past a certain "knee" in its visit rate curve. Many theories abound, but it's probably the same reason a kibbutz don't scale to a metropolis. It's difficult to overcome the ConnectedGraphSquaringProblem.
Actually the "scaling" problem is more related to the clique nature of the participants: Mostly second-rate geeks that are very interested in telling everyone else that they should be and act, "just like us". This nonsense has been around since the hippy days, back when clean floors were "filled with love, man" and not to be stepped on. Unlike their own mothers' very uncool behavior...
I agree with the clique phenomenon. The people in any given online community are like the members of a virtual coffee house. But there are connectors between communities too. The superstructure of Wikis represents an informal association of guilds -- a lot of programmers, engineers, and technophiles. We are the makers of the information furniture that other people use by browsing the web on the desktop, or in devices. So I say, forget about proselytizing. Let's just get on with improving our own online community and letting the natural diffusion process of valuable knowledge benefit the web world at large as it may. --KirkKitchen
I don't think it's failing ... if anything it's growing. I think the above comment is about the addictiveness of Ward's wiki, and I'd definitely have to agree. -- ChuckSmith
The most interesting part of that argument was that it was a shining example of what can happen when the community decides to intervene in an argument. Before that happened, it was entirely negative from the start. After it erupted into a (ridiculous) flame war, good people jumped in and tried extracting value. A tough proposition. What resulted was Wiki:UnitTestsReconsidered, which generated some good insights for everybody involved. Before, everyone's ears were closed and mouths were open. So, I guess it shows that it is possible to turn useless SoapBoxing into BarnRaising, especially if you can SeekThirdParties? to intervene in the argument.
Nonetheless, the argument itself was an outgrowth of severe breakdowns in behaviour on Wiki. A phrase that might sum it up might be "Negativity breeds negativity feeds negativity." Sure, one must AssumeGoodFaith, but one must also act in good faith. I don't think anyone was before, not really. -- SunirShah
WikiWiki has changed. To older hats, this means it has failed because it is no longer the same.
WikiWiki is about change. How can the "old hats" fail to see that?
I think WikiWiki has failed because someone is being viciously attacked and flamed constantly. This has been true for about a year now. Really, the trust that holds the site together has been dissolving. Now, a large segment of people presume that others are vicious, conniving bastards. (Contrast AssumeGoodFaith.) The core group of authors are paralyzed in argument after flame about whether another core author is a jerk. I think any organization with that kind of politik is dysfunctional.
However, that doesn't really matter. Foreign visitors likely don't care about who's being flamed (or do they?). I think the vast majority of readers are interested in what there is to learn. To that, contrast material from today to material from 1997. Which material is better? That depends on your values. The newer material is more loose, thready, argumentative. The older material reads to me more like a bunch of people getting together over coffee and trying to figure out a bit of difficult philosophy together. SoapBoxing vs. BarnRaising, I guess.
By the way, that's why I wrote RandomPages for WikiWiki. But little did I know when I created it that 70% of the pages on WikiWiki were created in the last year and a half. That kind of growth is insane. I prefer QualityOverQuantity?. -- SunirShah
The difference between "problematic individuals" and a sick Wiki is largely down to interpretation. As Margaret Thatcher said, there's no such thing as society. Ward's Wiki still has useful new content and one can ignore the wars.
Still, leaving that aside, what can we learn about the failing?
Now these are truly interesting questions. In order to avoid controversy over whether the thing is failing or not, I'll substitute "change" for "fail": what caused the changes, can they be reverted, etc.
I'd suggest a couple of causative factors. First has to be loss of focus (I know Sunir has pointed this out somewhere on Meatball before). The WikiWikiWeb was originally about people, projects, and patterns. It's not clear what it's about now. The pattern stuff that was on wiki's mind circa '95-'97 was pretty groovy. Then it took a turn for XP. Then it just kind of turned into a free-for-all. Second, I think, is just a basic loss of respect for your fellow human. As Wiki:AlanWostenberg likes to say "remember, a person is a person, no matter how small". It's pretty easy to break out the poison pen (er, keyboard) and take a tone that would seldom would be taken face-to-face. This was also true of newsgroups back in the day. Third would be have to be the dilution of the community - wiki used to be a pretty small, patient, collegial community. Its success has inevitably changed its atmosphere - kind of like that quiet little restaurant that got "discovered".
Are the changes revertible? Who knows. IMHO the whole thing revolves around SocialNorms?, but there are always people who like to buck the social norms. That's what's saddest to me - it used to be pretty cool to have a place where you could exchange views and collaborate on content with the high-powered folk on the WikiWikiWeb, but I think all those guys must be spending their time in different circles now. That's a loss. It used to work when everyone in the community felt like everyone respected (or at least acted respectfully toward) everyone else. I'm not sure it feels like that anymore.
Are such changes avoidable? Unfortunately, it might be like a microcosm of society in general. There's a reason why country clubs and gated communities are not open to the public. I'd hate to see that happen to the wiki community. Jim Coplien may have been the first to take a step in that direction with the closed instance of Thought Weaver he started for Organizational Patterns when he departed from the WikiWikiWeb.
But my hope is that history does not view the WikiWikiWeb as a failure. Instead, look at what it has spawned. There must be a hundred wikis in operation, on specific topics around the Internet, or behind firewalls within companies and projects. And all them born in the last five years or so. I'd call that a stunning success. --RandyStafford
I think that WardsWiki has done what is normal for a forum like Wiki: it has split into two separate parts. The first part is made up of those who still use the Wiki to communicate about patterns, XP and the projects that these are applied to. The second part is the equivalent of NewsGroup? MeToos?, they spend their time NavelGazing? and over-dramatizing the events on the Wiki (like the MindWipes?). This is not to say that these things are not real issues but you don't see Ward getting his knickers in a knot do you?
People have to come to grips with the nature of these fora. They are not protected and therefore these types of things can happen. WardsWiki hasn't failed, it has shown us that the Wiki will never be anything other than it was first meant to be: a collaborative tool that everyone can use. The fanciful supposition that this love-in attitude will change those who use the forum is silly. When WardsWiki started it was populated with a bunch of people who knew each other and had a vested interest in the Wiki. As more people started to contribute they learned from those already there. Those that came after learned or not depending on the person: some people respect and understand Wiki, some don't.
I would agree that there has been a general loss of focus but I think it is due to the nature of Wiki: most of the issues that needed to be discussed have been addressed. The Wiki at this point should exist mostly in DocumentMode. I think that WardsWiki has ultimately served the purpose it started out with. Perhaps it is time for the focus to change (wouldn't really be WardsWiki anymore would it?) or for people to lay off for a bit until something needs to be discussed. Most of the off-topic drivel that is on the Wiki is there because later contributors added it. Now is a time for refactoring and cleaning. After that WardsWiki can move on. In the meantime, there are many other wikis with interesting content that need contributions.
Wiki as a paradigm has succeeded: it has given us the fora that we use today to discuss and (maybe more importantly) chronicle our knowledge in a way that was heretofore (much more) difficult. --IainLowe
I authored a page over a year ago (Wiki:PositiveDialogueCommunity) which received both negative and positive posts. We can expect both attitudes to exist in a wiki community. But Because of the nature of this Wiki:NobleExperiment, success will depend upon helpful collaboration and discussion. It can easily be seen that most who take the time to post, or to refactor or housekeep pages extend that kind of attitude and are the wiki guardians who preserve worthwhile, meaningful and Positive Dialogue and exchange that typify a "Successful Wiki".
After Sunir's comment that WardsWiki is the canonical place to discuss wiki, I thought I'd take a look. Last time I checked, WardsWiki's (stated) topical focus seemed to be solidly Wiki:PeopleProjectsAndPatterns, but indeed, now some pages about what is on-topic say other things are on-topic too. I asked WardsWiki for clarification on the page Wiki:WikiMission, but my hypothesis is that they themselves are unsure what the situation is and so clarification may take awhile. What do y'all think? Does WardsWiki's core topical focus now encompass talking about wiki (Wiki:WikiHistory implies yes)?
Second, is it still socially impossible to do refactor anything there? Or is the place worth looking into now? -- BayleShanks
Agreed on both accounts: Ward has - as far as I can remember (~2001) - always a hands-off attitude towards what folks made with the wiki. From the time I spent then on Wiki, I'd guess that Ward could have put a foot down and requested well-behaviour. For his own reasons he didn't and now he's having the whole party trampling through his garden. -- DavidSchmitt
I've always seen parallels between WardsWiki and LambdaMoo, and they're not good ones. People got gushy about LambdaMoo too, how innovative and cutting-edge the whole thing was. Then some trolls came, people tried to deal with them through complex societal mechanisms of "arbitration" and "mediation" and so forth, refusing to admit that really, this was a BBS, and these were just asshats. Perhaps living, thinking human beings, sure, but from the face presented on the MOO, mere asshats to be swatted off. The refusal to limit the scope of things to MOO qua MOO, holding it up as some "virtual society" allowed more and more troublesome users to effectively hijack the discourse of the most dedicated patrons. The "owner" of the MOO refused to assert any kind of ownership, having devolved it to the users long ago, but of course users were largely powerless, having to go through fractious political maneuvering to have the simplest of MOO-wide defenses put in place. Finally, the illusion really crumbled for all the veterans, and what was left was an increasingly stagnant and technologically backward BBS with none of the creative output that characterized it formerly. Perhaps all online communities become mutually estranged and decay in some fashion -- but the parallels are quite striking in my mind. -- ChuckAdams
Future of C2
Anyone here in dialogue with Ward on his thoughts about C2? He mentioned about getting people with "financial" and "emotional" stake in C2. I get emotional at times, so maybe I qualify but unsure about my "financial" capabilities.
Is there a better location than this page to discuss C2, when it is not open to edit? At this moment people who do not operate in US timezone, and more specific Wards-wiki-timezone, can only watch what is happening with C2 -- DavidLiu
World without C2
If C2 is crippled to regulars, then in the short-term MeatBall gets more traffic. In the longer-term, the entire wiki concept gets severely damaged, and so is the concept of collaboration (ego-less form).
And in a broader sense, demise of C2 will also having negative bearing on advocates of internet democracy, decentralized organization, etc. It is unfortunate but a successful C2 does not help promote "power to the people" type movements, it has been and will be an uphill battle. -- DavidLiu <advocate of Wiki:ClearWaterHasNoFish and Wiki:MoreLightThanHeatGuideline> (temporary identification to be refactored out later)
C2 Changes in March05
[DavidLiu 29Mar] People still having problems reading C2 wiki pages please list your name, IP, and contact info in ShortMessagesWikiWikiWeb here at MeatBall. My problems in this regard, which affected me for two weeks, appear to be gone this Tuesday 29thMar. Following is an example of message you would see if you do not have "read access" to C2
Started with Where has C2 wiki gone? Cannot access for 2 days. Main server is still up though. 8Mar05
The day before it went offline, Ward had added HumanVerification to its EditPage?. Perhaps that was not enough to prevent spamming & botwars, and Ward took the WikiWikiWeb offline until he had a better solution. This is just speculation, though.
(breaking out of indent hell now) ... I noticed the implementation of this is that EditPage? shows a small input box for you to enter the "codeword". Apparently when Ward is not personally present, there is no codeword at all to enter, with no indication of why it's missing other than the user's assumption that there's a bug. I lack words to describe this approach. Actually I have too many words, most of which are bitingly acerbic, that I'll give a few days before deciding to share. -- ChuckAdams
If Ward can change from text code word that only appears when he is around to those image of some distorted code, which can be on all time. It will benefit me very much, since I live 12 hour different from US time. I never got a chance to look at Wiki the same time Ward did. Therefore I can not do any edit for 2 days already. -- PisinBootvong?
If the vandal is in the United States, you should throw him in jail. -- SunirShah
And what would you charge a WikiVandal? with? Vandalism statutes usually deal with the defacing or destruction of something which is not meant to be altered by the public. With a Wiki, where editing is openly encouraged, how does one legally distinguish between legal editing and vandalism? Construction of an unambiguous legal "filter" between what is permitted and what is criminal seems difficult; besides--I imagine the police in most jurisdictions have better things to do than bust Wiki-defacers. (OTOH, WardsWiki did manage do get some young Ohio teenager in trouble, who was stupid enough to post death-threats from the school's computers...)
One legal distinction that could be made is if some user was officially made persona non grata; then any further incursions by that individual could be deemed trespassing. (The same way that if you shoplift at Wal-Mart, if you ever go back there they can have you arrested for trespassing. Even if you don't commit any other crime, and even though Wal-Mart is otherwise open to the public, they can bar shoplifters from ever coming back). For that to work, the individual's identity would have to be established I imagine.
On the subject of Ward... I suspect he's bored with the thing, and cares far less about WikiWiki then he used to. He seldom participates on the site (except as an administrator), his new Microsoft gig keeps him busy, most of his long-time friends (and the Smalltalk/XP/design patterns communities) are long gone, and I'm sure he's sick of the squabbling. I'm partly surprised that he hasn't pulled the plug; or turned WikiWiki over to somebody else. --ScottJohnson
The laws considering harassment/stalking are (IANAL) quite a bit more specific, and probably wouldn't cover a WikiVandal? who just undoes edits. Otherwise, the LegalThreatÿ?0ÿ of RA might have teeth... I think the best bet would be trespassing. Recent court decisions (at the trial court level) in the US have (to the annoyance of civil libertarians) interpreted the doctrine of "computer trespass" rather broadly--to the point that a website need only serve notice that a particular individual (or class) is excluded from the site in order to bring trespassing charges against that individual should they access the site--even in the absence of any form of hacking, tampering, or damage. Technical access restrictions are not required. (In the same vein; one need not install locks on one's front door before one can bring charges against a burglar). Many are disturbed by this, as such power given to website operators may be put to anti-consumer uses. (Or anti-law-enforcement uses--should the cops have to get a search warrant before looking at a publicly-available website?)
In the SCO vs. IBM case, SCO is mounting the defense that by downloading SCO Linux from SCO's servers despite a note that "only authorized customers may do so", IBM is guilty of "hacking" into SCO's computer systems and thus has "unclean hands". This despite the fact that SCO Linux is GPL'd material and widely available elsewhere. Don't know if that argument will fly or not. -- ScottJohnson
One complication with the vandal is that nobody knows who it is (as far as I'm aware). Perhaps a few subpoenas might allow Ward to discover that information--were he to pursue it--but many of the OpenProxys? used by the vandal are located overseas. (And that assumes that the various proxies keep the needed information in the server logs).
At any rate, I'm a bit puzzled about Ward's reluctance to embrace technological solutions to this problem. Many of the techniques available are well-tested, known to be effective, and don't interfere with the openness of a Wiki. Perhaps recent events are changing his mind (one hopes)--the site, and many of its older members, have always had an idealistic spirit about them (one that allows/encourages them to believe that malefactors will go away if you don't keep them interested). Now the site are faced with an adversary which is a) almost pathological in his desire to exercise editorial control over (parts of) the site; and b) highly technically skilled, and capable of engaging in numerous forms of automated attack. A determined vandal, using scripts, and launching a distributed attack, is more than capable of overwhelming even a group of dedicated WikiGnome?s. -- ScottJohnson
Of course some of us saw this coming. Hopefully Ward will make C2 a read-only archive on a permanent basis and accept the thing is dead rather than letting it continue as a farcical imitation of what it once was. Hopefully this will also put paid to the people who believe that you can build delicate social structures online without having mechanisms to filter out the more dysfunctional members of society. They killed Usenet, they're trying to kill blogs and systems that don't have defences against such people built in tend to suck up a great deal of energy learning the same old lessons about sociopathy.
I have been seeing some C2 activities around 1pm Australian eastern time today, but I cannot see the code needed for me to edit pages on C2. Is there a specific ban on people (e.g. me) added over the weekend? Or maybe edit is not open from people from Australia, or just a misunderstanding? -- DavidLiu 14Mar05
It's become pretty clear now that Ward has no intention of implementing any reasonable solution, having found the current mechanism to be sufficient for his own purposes, which apparently don't include communicating even one-way to the wikizens he swatted away, or even indicating that the lack of the code isn't some sort of bug. I don't even have any frustrated anger left over it, just a moderate amount of disgust, and mostly a sort of wistful sadness. So long, WikiWikiWeb, it was nice while it lasted. --ChuckAdams
Under "RelationalHasLimitedModelingCapability?" at c2 wiki, I wish to change the psuedo-code example to what follows:
result = query(select data_value from queue_table where numeric_key = (select max(numeric_key) from queue_table);) if result.recordCount == 0 then // queue is empty else delete from queue_table where numeric_key = (select max(numeric_key) from queue_table); endif
I would be greatful if somebody with access made this change. (Note that I am not the original author of the above snippet. However, it is not signed and using errors for decision branching is a smell in my opinion.) Thanks, --top