Wikis for collaborative writing and editing
A great advantage of the wiki platform is that people who are literally at opposite ends of the globe can easily collaborate in the development and editing of documents. Wikis allow users to post a document that can then be edited by others. Wikis have built-in management elements that allow the wiki designer to determine WHO can edit. Wiki applications vary in terms of how complex these decisions can be, usually depending on the level of service one has contracted for. Many if not most applications allow the organizer to limit access to certain pages – everything from just being a lookie-loo to having full editorial access. All wiki applications I’ve seen allow the organizer to make the wiki fully public (look and fiddle), partially public (look only at some or all of the pages) or fully private (only invited members may participate).
Collaborative writing on a wiki involves inputting text as the basis. Each time someone accesses the document and changes any element of it, it is placed in history with the screen name of the person who did the edit. Note that this is not like the text marking option on Word, in which multiple individuals can edit a document and have their edits show up in different colors. Instead, each edit is stored separately. A further thing to know is that wiki edits can only be done on text that is inputted into the wiki (it CAN be cut and pasted, although sometimes funny code sort of shows up in the text – if that happens, it can usually be removed easily enough). Documents generally can be uploaded and accessed, but those do not go into the editing element of the wiki unless they are placed there by keyboarding or cutting and pasting.
One final consideration for wiki writing collaboration is that a wiki is not the place to do formatting. The editors are simple to use, and most allow things like font sizing and insertion of a table into which text can be inputted, the document will need to be copied and placed into a word processing program (Word, for instance) for more formal formatting.