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Friday, January 31, 2014

The Wiki Force

Consider the Internet.

Consider the World.

The Wikipedia is a phenomenal source of data. It contains data that is
(1) free to all, and
(2) time-accessible to all,
(3) it's primary function - collecting, processing, and editing information - is open to all.
Points 1 and 2 combine to assure continuity in that even users with older hardware and operating systems may still access the Wikipedia.

Point 3 is massively interesting, for at present Wikipedia has formed itself into a hierarchy of editors with so many rules that newcomers are rare to the ranks of contributors. There are some problems to be worked out.

This Wiki is an incredibly interesting simulation of politics: equality versus hierarchy, democracy versus oligarchy, anarchy versus control.
"The usefulness of Wiki is in the freedom, simplicity, and power it offers."
Anything which does not require freedom, nor simplicity, nor power (in the sense of individual power) does not need Wiki.


Over Christmas, my goddaughter was speaking of how many people she knew were forming theor own groups to meet together, eat, drink, and discuss religion. This was a reaction against the stifling hierarchical control of the mainstream churches and the constraints of old dogmas.

How fascinating, I thought, as the present mirrors the past, and we see Agape feasts again in Christianity. Only this time these are not self-conscious agape feasts that are based on scriptural references and a desire to resurrect the old get-togethers; these are real get-togethers of interested people who probably refer to their meetings as Bible and Brew... no agape nor any other New Testament Greek to be found anywhere.

Is this not a Wiki of the Spirit?

Look at the history of any religion and note the progress from the state of Wiki to the state of more and more central control and immoveable dogma. It seems to be a natural human cycling.

Some human enterprises seem designed for authoritarian controls, such as the arts of warfare. Sometimes mankind shifts their understanding of the authoritarian into a Wiki and create elitism and hierarchies.
Most big religions are very concerned about control. It is the nature of things. We wish to control our surroundings, have a home, keep our kids from harm, have a good education system, etc., and these desire for control seem to naturally move into areas that are the realm of the individual soul, a Wiki area if ever there was one.

By observing how Wikipedia handles itself we may get a clue how to solve the problem of the group mind, that is, how a number of individuals who are loving and caring can come together and create a much larger group which then exhibits all the cruelty and bestiality of raging carnivores.

How does the Wiki enshrine what is good and virtuous in its members, and how does it withstand the types of control which lead to it becoming moribund and static?

(note: An interesting response to this may be the Islamic radical response, which sees warfare and violence as a means to regain its ideal. In this case, it is not clear whether the ideal is Wiki or not.)


As far as I can determine, the word "wiki" comes from Ward Cunningham's "WikiWikiWeb"  (, and was a short way of saying "quick" - pronounced "kwik". So "quick,quick" became "wiki, wiki"

Larry Sanger
The Early History of Nupedia and Wikipedia: A Memoir
So Ben explained the idea of Ward Cunningham's WikiWikiWeb to me. Instantly I was considering whether wiki would work as a more open and simple editorial system for a free, collaborative encyclopedia, and it seemed exactly right.
I still dream that it also comes from "wikiup", which is defined as " wikiup: a lodge consisting of a frame covered with matting or brush; used by nomadic American Indians in the southwestern United States".
The definition suggests a temporary structure that may or may not follow definite plans depending upon the terrain and locale one finds oneself in.
There is a certain freedom from the School of Architecture here.

I think also of the wikiup at the end of the film Melancholia.

It was a Naked Wikiup in the form of a pyramid,  having no brush or matting to enclose it. It was the gateway of eternity for those who sought refuge within.


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