RDF Technology

Wiki and Weblogs

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Tim Bray wrote a short note on weblogs and wikis, basically saying that contrary to assertions at Sun and elsewhere that the two are convergent, they’re both very different:

A wiki is a collaborative construction engine, with refactoring and edit-in-place being the dominant forms of activity, and many equal voices singing in a chorus. A blog is more like a content faucet, a source with one voice, always growing at one end; while updates to existing content are OK, the dominant activity is pouring new text and pictures and whatever in.

I can agree that out of the box, the two are very different; not only in implementation, but also in purpose and audience. However, that’s out of the box. It doesn’t take much to morph the one into the other, which I assume is where some of the discussion of convergence enters. (Not to mention that both are considered forms of personal empowerment.)

For instance, a wiki can easily be setup to only allow one editor, and limit one’s work to adding material rather than editing. And as can seen in the Kitchen, it’s not difficult to open a weblog up to the world, and the only thing stopping people from editing their work is habit and etiquette.

This latter is where the difference arises: the technology isn’t limiting how each tool is used, as much as our assumptions on how each is supposed to be used. The most significant assumption is that each writing on a weblog is relatively static and usually is identified by the author. In a wiki, the writing is usually not static and identifying your writing with your name is discouraged to prevent ownership of the material.

Further on, when Tim says that weblogging isn’t anything new, it’s because personal webpages controlled by one individual have been around since the web’s been invented. However, a wiki, with it’s lack of voice other than the corporate whole, and based on an almost universal trust, is very new.

Think of the difference politically: weblogs are Libertarian, while wikis are Green.

(Via Danny)

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