Writing in the Wikishop: Constructing Knowledge in the Electronic Classroom. – Thomas J. Nelson

Nelson points out the benefit of wikis is they are “fluid, fast, fixable, and free.” (198) He says there are four points inherent in a wiki. They are: “open-source software/writing, problematizing textual authority, process orientation, and real rhetorical circumstances.” (198) What does this mean?

Wikis are an ongoing process. They are a means of communicating and writing, by sharing pool of knowledge. Wikis are also self-repairing and provide real-world opportunities for rhetoric. One of the key points of wikis is that they are open-source.

Open-source software “refers to a program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge, i.e., open. Open source code is typically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community. Open source sprouted in the technological community as a response to proprietary software owned by corporations.” (http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/O/open_source.html) One role of open source software is in “helping public sector organizations become more innovative, more agile, and more cost-effective by building on the collaborative efforts of open source communities.” (Driving innovation with open source,Posted 7 Jun 2013 by Clarice Africa, http://opensource.com/government/13/6/singapore-open-source)

Wikis and open-source software share similar attributes. Is it any wonder they both are embraced enthusiastically by those who seek a more open, free way of communicating and sharing? It is inherent in human nature to rebel against overbearing authority. Wikis and open-source software are means for rebelling against those who seek to control us – large corporations, big government and domineering elitism.


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