Philocrites , when carrying on my reportage of the newish UU Wiki, noted “because I can’t quite get my head around the uses of this technology.” That deserves a reply.
Consider the UUA’s Worship Web, which Philo knows very well. It says it is still being developed, but I rather doubt much happens to it any given week. (Which would be a shame.) But it has a lot of resources from a number of different authors.
If, instead of it being managed by staff members, it could be amended, edited, and tweeked by the reading public (under a set of rules) and if the end product was maintained under a license so broad that anyone could use the material and alter it at will — then you have an idea of what a wiki is like. (The name comes from Hawaiian wiki-wikis, or quick buses. See the Wikipedia page on wiki.)
In other words, it is a tool for broad-based mass collaborative work. Not useful for all situations, but good for a great many. Those with fragile egos need not apply, for instance. It is, however, good for the kind of person who corrects typos in printed books, as many wikis can be edited by any reader. At first, I thought it would be hostage to every crank and spin-doctor. But when you have many, many eyes judging against bias the truth will usually win out. (Here’s an article under dispute, as an example of the kind of discipline that can be engendered.)
Apart from the Wikimedia Foundation wikis, most are small and never get the critical mass to make a go of it, and that’s a shame. (Just today I used Wikipedia at work to learn more about Japanese postal address conventions, and at home to learn about Hungarian cuisine.)
It could be a handy repository of folk wisdom and technology, news updates, and trial balloons; in essence, it could be a counterpart to the UUA’s InterConnections magazine. For my part, I intend to start writing for the UU Wiki as soon as I read all the standards.
Lastly, the article I wrote (and others edited) for Wikipedia on “our” John Murray.
Right on, Scott! Critial mass, or at least a dedicated core of folks, is important for Wikis.
Y’all come on over and try out UUWiki! We think UUs are just the sort of folks to revel in the wiki medium, and uuism is best defined and empowered by this sort of collaboration.