Massive Wiki is a movement to create a wiki ecosystem (rather than just an engine) that provides classic wiki utility, with a plurality of tools and processes that enable decentralization and federation of the pages.
Massive Wiki inherits some key features from the Wiki Wiki Web pattern invented by Ward Cunningham in 1994, including easy linking and named pages. The Wiki pattern is one of the best ways to organize and share text-based information and knowledge. We gratefully acknowledge Ward's gift to the world.
Massive Wiki can be set up to be just a folder of text files on your authors' computer, that are as easy to edit or rearrange as any other text files on their computer. You can add authors by just asking them to use text files on their computer.
The plain text format used by Massive Wiki works with any standard operating system or computer interface device, including speech-based or legacy computers.
Massive Wiki is built to diffuse information across space and time, unlike a centralized server-based wiki or website. Each author has a copy of the whole wiki, in text format. For public wikis, there's also a copy on GitHub or another public Git forge.
Anyone can archive it, share it, duplicate and change it, without any infrastructure besides their computing device -- for example, a laptop, smartphone, or a tablet.
You can zip up the whole wiki easily and email the zipped-up wiki to a million friends for safekeeping or further distribution. Any recipient who can receive email and unzip a file will have the whole wiki.
A Massive Wiki is much more likely to survive for decades or centuries, even if centralized networking and computing infrastructure collapses.
In "Massive Wiki", the word "Massive" is inspired by an acronym, "MaSVF". The word "Wiki" represents naming and easy linking between pages, as well as the "wiki culture" of collaborative writing.
MaSVF stands for Ma rkdown, S hared, V ersioned, F iles.
We use Markdown because it is a lingua franca. It's simple to learn and use, and "good enough" for many formatting needs.
Wiki is best when it's shared with others. Sharing files lets them move around, from centralized servers to decentralized servers, and from peer to peer.
When page contention happens, version history is important to be able to do whatever manual merge is necessary.
Version history is also very handy if you want to refer back to a previous version of a page.
Each page is one file.
Standard files are an easy and reasonably precise unit of data interchange between different computer systems.
The plural "files" is important -- a wiki needs more than one page.
2023-09-29: Some notes and thoughts from Bill Anderson:
/ Massive Wikis are not centralized //
/ by using Markdown and standard files and folders it is easy to get started //
/ those properties also make it easy to preserve over time //
/ the entire wiki is available to everyone; it is portable //