Imagine you are surfing the Internet, and you stop at a site where
you could and would like to add or modify something. For instance,
you have a literary reference or link to add. Or you've noticed a typing
error. Perhaps you even have a lengthy article that you'd like to
display on a separate page. So, you just click on the “edit” button,
change everything you wish, add a couple of ideas, confirm it, and
the new page is online immediately! In a history, a listing of the
saved, older versions of the page, you can view previous changes to
the page as well as reverse your entries. If it all was a simple and
transparent experience, you were dealing with a wiki. Wiki technology
enables virtually anyone to completely edit pages without difficulty.
Yet that's not all – anyone can contribute significantly to the
structure of the site, simply by creating new links and adding new
pages. This openness is the innovative and amazing aspect of wikis.
The title of a book puts it in a nutshell: The Wiki Way. Quick Collaboration
on the Web.
Wikis are downright fascinating tools. It has never been so easy
to become a “correspondent” on the Internet, because the technical
hurdles have been reduced to a minimum. People who hear about or
use wikis for the first time often experience a bit of culture shock.
“Anybody can come along and change my text!” is a popular reaction.
The opportunities and consequences of free cooperation in the
context of the typical work organization of our society inevitably
lead to irritation, because we assume that a contribution from
“others” will destroy our own work.