Posted by & filed under Continuing Conversations.

Last week, thanks to David Bovill, I was on a hangout with Ward Cunningham

The hangout was connected to development of the Federated Wiki. David showed it to me a couple of years ago, but more as a demo than an immediate invitation to get involved.  Now that is changing.

Federated Wiki

The italicaised notes below about Federated Wiki are taken from the section on “New Relic: What’s next for the wiki?” from Wiki Inventor Ward Cunningham Dishes on the Future of His Creation (Feb.11th, 2016).

Ward Cunningham says:

I’m four years into that project. The first year with support from Nike, where I was a Code for a Better World Fellow, and three years with a community of developers around the world that have tried all kind of things with it.

To participate, you create your own server. Think of it like a blog: If you want to have a blog, you put one up on a server somewhere. Here, if you want to participate in the federation of wikis, you put up a wiki. But they all share in the same way using the Creative Commons and so forth. We’re up to more than 800 sites now; most of them added in the last year.

The Federated Wiki allows users to share their data but still own it. No one can modify it and say it’s what you created. Instead, I write to my wiki, and you write to your wiki. Anything you write, I’m welcome to take via Creative Commons with built-in attribution. But when I revise it, I put it on my wiki, not back on your wiki. So somebody could read my page and say, “Wow, Ward, you’re really doing great stuff here.” And then they look and see that I really wrote only one paragraph and it all came from you. It’s kind of a collective ownership because I’m giving it away—and the nice thing about digital stuff is that I can give it away and still own it.

So here is the big win: The people who write for Wikipedia spend a tremendous amount of energy correcting abuses. Federated Wiki solves the problem because when I put something on my wiki server, you’re free to use it but you can’t screw with my original. And if your version is better, you’ll get the eyeballs, but then I’m free to take your version back. Pretty soon, we’re advancing big problems in the world.

This is where you can make a start to explore the Federated Wiki

Looking ahead and invitation for involvement

The hangout I went to was part of a regular series and so I look forward to continuing to be part of the hangouts and work coming out of them.

I believe that various friends/contacts of mine would be interested in learning more about the Federated Wiki and getting involved too. I know that there is (or will be) an invitation for that involvement. I look forward to connecting people with the invitation.

I want to learn how to use the Federated Wiki and then I anticipate using it as the home for much of my past and future content (and collaboration).

From what I know so far I’m attracted to it because:

  • It seems a great mix between a personal wiki and a community
  • For some time I’ve wanted to be able to use a wiki for some of my work
  • I like to work collaboratively, and the federated wiki seems a much more fluid and spontaneous way of collaborating than google docs
  • I’m attracted to Ward’s “ethos” as expressed in the video above
  • One of my ongoing quests relates to how those of us involved in “unstructured, analogue, people-dominated collaborations” can apply the lessons of theFOSS (Free and Open Source Software)  community where, as I see it, people are involved in more “structured, rule-base, digital-tech-dominated collaborations”
  • Many of the things Ward says in the video above resonate with me and what I am trying to do regarding collaboration, trust, working from a central point and just letting it spread out, being open, being “international” (not limited by national/physical/distance boundaries), the power of people-connecting-with-people across cultural barriers as a powerful connecting force (towards becoming a ‘one-world” where every language and every person is important and valued).
  • I connect completely with his big vision of what we can do in a connected world and his invitation to “people” to get involved and bring our different strengths together.