What is a Wiki?

‘Wiki’ or ‘wiki-wiki’ is the traditional Hawaiian work for quick, fast, or hasten, and was applied to collaborative knowledge software for computers in the mid 1990s. It originated in the design pattern community as a way of writing and discussing pattern languages.

Today ‘wikis’ are most commonly websites that anyone can add to or edit without having to know HTML or write in code. They are specifically designed for community building and collaboration, and do not require any webmaster or mistress. The community of users generates and edits the content, building a significant body of collaborative knowledge over time. Perhaps most importantly, this body of knowledge remains autonomous and decentralized.

The best example of a successful wiki might be the ‘wkikpedia’, an encyclopedia that is added to and kept up to date everyday by thousands of users all over the world. For instance, anyone can go to the entry ‘permaculture’, read the rather comprehensive article, and then add a link, edit a paragraph, or even add Dave and Eric to the list of permaculture authors! The changes are instantly posted to the web, across the world, and if deemed inappropriate will quickly be removed by other users. Check it out, and add your piece at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture__

The Northeastern Permaculture wiki:

At the northeastern regional gathering last summer (2005), Tad Montgomery suggested a wiki in response to the groups expressed need for means of networking and exchanging information.

In a series of regional organizing meetings, different groups of people have repeatedly vocalized similar needs for our network: an accessible and central calendar of events (meetings, workshops, work parties, classes, etc.); a database of plant and seed resources; awareness (and further development) of demonstration sites; a database of designers, practitioners, course graduates, and other ‘permies’; a database of the needs and offers of members of our network; a forum to publish and advance research relevant to permaculture; and a means to ‘outreach’ to people other than ‘permaculturalists’.

While the web is clearly no substitute for our personal relationships and interactions, it does potentially offer a multiple function solution to the above stated goals.

After a few less than ideal attempts to start a wiki after the summer gathering, a new host was found after a meeting at D-Acres this fall. It is, at this point, merely the skeleton of the information we need to serve our purposes. It will only blossom if we collectively embrace it and contribute to it.

Its usage is relatively simple. Simply go to the web page and if you have something you want to add (such as a calendar date, or whatever) click ‘edit’, and the webpage then functions like a word processing program, then click ‘save’, and its posted to the worldwide web. It can be done from any computer, at he library or whatever. For this particular wiki, you have to register as a user only to create new pages; registration is free and relatively easy. In addition to the above-mentioned goals, our own articles, papers, book reviews, educational criteria, maps and photographs, peer design reviews, and whatever else we can think of can be easily posted.

Permaculture Frappr:
Interestingly (and perhaps indicative of collective consciousness), I came across an ‘old school snowboard’ frappr (friend mapper) earlier this week, and began thinking about how well this could plug into permaculture networking. Later that same day, a permaculture frappr was started!
A ‘Frappr’ is a worldwide map, which members of a group can view and add themselves to. You click on someone’s ‘thumbtack’ on the map, and you can see pictures of them, their gardens, or read about what they’re up to.
This frappr is great, and there is a link from the wiki to it, entitled ‘The Permaculture Frappr'. We can also create more specific frapprs within the wiki to map demonstration sites, etc. or continue to build on one main frappr.

Go Collaborative co-creation and continual connection!!
Thanks everyone for your contributions,
Keith Morris