Wiki software, such as the one used on JurisPedia, strive for ease in creating, editing, and updating pages. Most wikis are open to the general public without need to register before being able to edit pages on the site, and edits are not usually reviewed before modifications are accepted. More private wiki servers require user authentication before edits, or even viewing the site's content, are allowed.
The first wiki was developed in 1995 by Ward Cunningham. He wanted something better than the e-mail lists that were prevalent at the time. So he conceived the idea that people could edit the pages on a website.
The meatball wiki is a wiki about wiki development, for online community managers.
A wiki is a practical solution in situations where the collaborative writing of information is required. As a result, wikis have found their way onto a large number of websites as content management systems and the content of some is incorporated into other websites.
Because wikis are a collaborative project, they often have rules about what their content is or should be like, who can contribute, what is contributed and how they are operated. These rules generally include:
- Because a wiki's content is the collaborative work of a community of contributors, the ultimate result is the consensus view of those contributors.
- Code of Conduct
- A code of conduct is generally set out that contributors are expected to abide by.
- Contribution control
- Some form of contribution control is generally exercised, so that off-topic content is prevented from remaining visible. However, soft, rather than hard, content moderation is generally used, with contributions being immediately displayed and only being removed or edited if someone deems the the contribution to be inappropriate.
- Contributor membership control
- Some form of membership control is generally in place to manage, or at least identify, what contributors are contributing. Often, contribution membership is open to anyone, with the philosophy of the wiki being build it and they will contribute.
- Benevelent supporters or sponsors
- Wikis are generally sponsored by supporter(s) that have ultimate control over what happens with the wiki and its content. Normally this sponsorship is relatively benign, often with the wiki being established as an experiment or supported by a group or community that contributors are all members of.
- Beyond the Blog: RSS, Wikis and Blikis, The American Association of Law Libraries, 98th AALL Annual Meeting & Conference July 16 - 20, 2005, San Antonio, Texas