[Foundation-l] Rethinking Brands

Andrew Gray shimgray at gmail.com
Wed May 9 16:30:39 UTC 2007

On 09/05/07, Andrew Whitworth <wknight8111 at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Wikipedia has a domineering culture, and because it was the first project,
> many of the members there are in the habit of calling wikipedia simply
> "wiki". Notice how people refer to en.wikibooks to describe the english
> wikibooks, but nearly all wikimedians use the term "enwiki" to describe
> wikipedia. Doesnt help that this ambiguity is embedded in the software. The
> fact that the news media has picked up on wikipedian's jargon and refers to
> it as simply "wiki" is not so much a surprise as an obvious result.

I'm really not convinced this is the case. "Wiki" as a proper noun for
Wikipedia (English only or not) is very much an *external* thing; I
see it a lot in emails written to us by outsiders, but rarely see it
used internally by anyone actually involved with the projects. Indeed,
it's something of a shibboleth...

(caveat - there's also "the wiki", which you get pretty often on and
around enwp but is clearly a context-sensitive phrase; "the wiki
[which we are discussing]", and could be used in reference to
anything. enwiki and enwp are used interchangeably now, and are very
much internal only - I really doubt any external use is based on our
use of those terms)

"Wiki" as a proper noun is people encountering the almost unescapable
behemoth that is Wikipedia, stripping off the bit that seems generic
(-pedia) and assuming the rest is "their name". Because wikis are
generally pretty low-profile and obscure, we're usually the first one
most people encounter, and so they don't realise it's as much a
generic term as -pedia is.

(Note the converse also happens - "a wikipedia" used to describe any wiki)

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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