The IT Law Wiki


A wiki[1] is

a website that allows users to add, remove, and otherwise edit and change content (usually text) collectively. Users can instantly change the content of the pages and format them with a very simple tagging language. Initial authors of articles allow other users to edit "their" content. The fundamental idea behind wikis is that a vast number of users read and edit the content, thus potentially correcting mistakes.[2]

A wiki is "[a] website which allows users to edit content as a form of crowdsourcing."[3]


By using a simple web interface, a community can collaborate on developing a document or web page, no matter where they are located.

Wikis take advantage of the wisdom of the crowds. Through simple and open editing features, wikis encourage users to add and edit content, making it easy to improve products as people add their knowledge. Wikis can be used to collectively identify issues, problems, and solutions, and develop products and outcomes. Each posting is versioned so that postings can be compared. The wiki feature, in which all past entries are kept in a log as versions of the evolving discussion, makes it a powerful tool for contributing to, and collaborating on, a project in a geographically distributed environment.

More than any other of the applications, a wiki promotes direct and active participation by a distributed network of collaborators. That community of interest is not necessarily limited by Federal agency or even private or public community affiliation.

Wiki uses include:

  • A method of collaborative writing;
  • A method of collaborating on projects;
  • A method of finding consensus around an issue or concept; virtual meetings;
  • Vocabulary development.

Types of wikis[]

A wiki can be either open or closed, depending on the preferences of the community using it. An open wiki allows anybody to make changes and view content. A closed wiki allows only community members to make changes and view its content. Some wikis allow anyone to view content, but only members can edit the content.


  1. The term "wiki" is based on the Hawaiian word meaning fast.[1]
  2. Participative Web: User-Created Content, at 18.
  3. Government 2.0 Taskforce, Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0, App. C: Glossary (full-text).

See also[]