Wiki Design Choices

The first wiki was intentionally of limited functionality so as to leave little room for the intended community of programmers to criticize implementation choices. Later generations have chosen otherwise.

feature original wiki mediawiki federated wiki
login none optional ownership
links camel case square brackets square brackets
edit conflicts last write conflict alert twins
text formating italic bold bullets templates plugins
page layout none templates lineup
rename none redirect none
history previous page elaborate history journal per page

A wiki is a place on the internet where strangers can meet and make something of lasting value together.

The author's own feeling is that there has been a natural progression where community needs have been met with increased complexity but often just enough to satisfy without changing the traditions that make wiki attractive.

Omission: Some available history was soon added simply to correct accidental deletions. Wikipedia has found history indispensable for informed collaboration.

See Forsyth Criteria for agency in collaboration.

Overbuilding: Text formatting was judged to be an important enhancement over the plain text available then in email and net-news groups. I've come to believe that this feature just creates noise in the absence of meticulous copyediting.