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A web 2.0 wiki is a type of website where each page can be edited by any member of the community. This shares the job of creating and maintaining a website’s content among a large number of users, thereby making wikis a good choice for collaborative groups. The open nature of web 2.0 wikis can, however, cause problems with vandalism and incorrect information. Wikipedia is an example of a web 2.0 wiki, but there are many more across the Internet.
Web 2.0 wikis are similar to any other type of website except for how the content is created and maintained. Other types of websites, such as blogs, are usually written by a small team of writers and can only be edited by these same people. The content on web 2.0 wikis, however, can be freely edited by a large number of users. Some wikis allow editing from anyone, while others require a user to sign up or be invited. This makes wikis a powerful collaborative tool.
The primary benefit of web 2.0 wikis over other types of websites is that the content can be continuously created and updated by a large number of people. This allows the website to provide a greater amount of information than would usually be possible with a small group of writers. Inevitably, a larger group of contributors also results in a wider range of expertise, so wikis have the potential to provide a more rounded overview of a particular topic.
There are problems with web 2.0 wikis, however, which is why they are not suitable for all websites. The large number of contributors, for example, can also have a potential downside. If there are members of the community who intentionally add incorrect information or vandalize a page, the value of the content is significantly decreased. Also, while web 2.0 wikis work well for informational topics where correct and incorrect entries are clear, differing opinions can turn pages about controversial issues into “battles” between editors.
Wikipedia is probably the most famous example of a web 2.0 wiki, but the software that runs the site is open source and can be freely used by anyone. This means that a large number of smaller web 2.0 wikis have become established. Scientific groups, for example, often set up private web 2.0 wikis where members can collaborate. Some complex computer games also run wikis where players can share information and tactics.