Wikipedia is not Wiki

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Crystal wordprocessing.png This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

Sometimes newcomers to the wiki world become a little confused about the word "wiki", especially when their only wiki experience is through Wikipedia. This is understandable, given the various differing-but-related meanings of the word. To end the confusion once and for all (hah!), here is a quick guide.

"wiki" is a generic term with several meanings:

  • software that allows people to create editable websites (e.g. MediaWiki, UseModWiki)
  • a website created with such software (e.g. MeatballWiki)
  • the virtual community which maintains and uses such a website (ditto)
  • the ideas and philosophy behind such websites

"Wiki" (or "Ward's Wiki") as a proper name refers only to the original wiki created by Ward Cunningham: [1]

"Wikipedia" is the particular project to create a wiki-based encyclopedia: http://www.wikipedia.org/

To further confuse things, some people spell the first term with a capital W: "When starting a Wiki, you first have to choose some Wiki software". While some folks object to this on grammatical grounds, it is fairly common.

Even more confusion: Sometimes you see the term Wiki Wiki or even Wiki Wiki Web

To sum up: each individual language Wikipedia is a wiki, and the Wikipedia project as a whole is a collection of wikis, but you shouldn't say, "I added an article to Wiki today" if you were working on Wikipedia. Ward's Wiki is here.

-- Stephen Gilbert, MyRedDice

See also[edit]