10 Reasons Why You Want Wiki

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Imagine life before the Internet. Now think of life after the Internet. Think Wiki. A plug for PESWiki.com, but also a plug for wikis in general, that enable a site to become user-editable.

Let's reminisce for a minute.

Remember the days before email and the Internet? While you didn't have to worry about spam, think of all you were missing out on, that you now have access to because of this global networking capability. Remember how your friends told you about email and surfing the web and how cool it is, and how they encouraged you to get hooked up. Remember how glad you were when you finally made the leap and tackled getting online. Once you were set up, remember how you thought, "That wasn't all that hard after all." Yes, it required learning a few little maneuvers in order to handle basic tasks, but once you had those simple things down, everything was a snap. Remember how amazed you were at the utility of the web and of email, and of all the wonderful things you could find at the click of a button. Think now of the withdrawals you have when you are taken away from the web for a period of time, and how much you miss it because of how much it brings to you. We wouldn't want to use the word "addicting" because of its bad connotations, but perhaps a more romantic word would be "hooked." Your life would never be the same without the Internet.

What we would like to suggest is that there is a similar quantum boon to be had with the wiki technology that enables anyone who visits a wiki site to edit the content on the site and to add content as they see fit.

Same thing applies.

At first, it is new to you, and therefore perhaps intimidating. You're going to have to learn a few of the basic tricks. But once you take the first few steps your going to be amazed, thinking, "That wasn't all that hard after all." Then you are going to realize how marvelous the wiki can be, how it enables you to not only visit websites, but to actually participate in the CREATION of fabulous content. You have an outlet. It's like a discussion board, except that now your comment is integrated in context into a breathing, evolving document that is eventually viewed by hundreds if not tens of thousands of people. You have helped create something in a team spirit, making the world a better place. You have emotional ownership in the world you have helped to create. You will be hooked.

That is the power of the wiki.

We might say there are two kinds of people in the world. Talkers --'if only they would...' -- and doers -- done. Wiki brings out the doer in people. There, it's done.

See an error on a page you are visiting? Correct it in a matter of seconds. See something that is left out? Add it. Know of a great resource that should be mentioned? Create a link to it. Find a broken link? Fix it, or note that it needs to be fixed, so someone can do it. Know of a better way to say something you read? Reword it.

You think a page is too long and should be subdivided? Subdivide it.

See some content that has no business on the site? Remove it. Know of an image that would be great for a page? Post it. See some spam? Delete it. You want to build your own links page? Build it; and make it your home page. Think the layout of a page could be better? Fix it. See some content that really belongs on a different page? Move it. You want to comment on a page? Post a comment in the "discussion" page associated with it .

You don't even have to be logged in. Just hit the "edit" button to the right of the beginning of the relevant section, and make the change you think should be made. Enter a little memo of what you are doing in the "Summary" box at the bottom; then preview the page; and if it look right, then save it. Your improvement has now gone live. You have just made a difference. That feels good. That wasn't too hard was it? The world is a little better because of what you just did.

Tens, then hundreds, then thousands of people making a little improvement here and there on a wiki site makes for an excellent website born of a team effort.

The "recent changes" link lets you see what changes have been made to the site in general in the last while. A certain percentage of those who help build the wiki are inclined to keep a keen eye on the recent changes to make sure the changes are consistent with the site's mission. On an active wiki site, bogus entries are removed in a matter of minutes thanks to these eagle-eye volunteers.

If there is a particular page you want to keep an eye on, you can add it to your "watched pages" list.

Of course, for those pages where there is a reason to not allow such free editing, the wiki enables a page to be protected so that only sysops can modify the page. Also, crucial fixed content can be posted on non-wiki sites for reference, then linked from the wiki.

So, go out and have yourself a wiki. Most wiki sites come with instructions on how to use them, and most of them use the same code protocol. Most allow some basic HTML commands such as for bold, so learning how to use one will make it much easier when you encounter others.

To see perhaps the most developed wiki site on the internet, try out http://Wikipedia.org , which has used the power of wiki to build the world's largest encyclopedia in just three years.

To see a new and promising wiki, where the readership has yet to make that jump into participation, see http://PESWiki.com, whose intent is to open source non-conventional energy technologies to move the planet away from dependence on fossil fuel and toward green, clean, and free energy.

The above article is posted at http://peswiki.com/index.php/PESWiki:10_Reasons_Why_You_Want_Wiki

About the Author:

Founder and Executive Director of PES Network, Inc., http://PureEnergySystems.com, Sterling Allan has been involved as a web publisher since Feb. 1999 when he founded http://greaterthings.com . A 'Free Energy' section http://freeenergy.greaterthings.com on that site has grown over the last three years to become one of the best news and directory services in the subject of alternative energy. As Mr. Allan expanded to include other people in the operation, a wiki was an obvious choice for enabling multiple people to be able to author the same site. This article was written with that audience in mind, to get them to step out of their comfort zone and embrace a new approach that they are sure to find of great value.

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Sterling D. Allan