MeatballWiki

MeatballWiki

MeatballWiki is a wiki dedicated to online communities, network culture, and hypermedia. Founded in 2000, its original goal was to focus on collaborative hypermedia, but current topics range from intellectual property to cyberpunk to the confusion of URIs. According to founder Sunir Shah, it runs "a hacked-up version of UseModWiki".

The Founding of MeatballWiki

MeatballWiki was started in 2000 by Ontarian website administrator Sunir Shah on Clifford Adams's Internet domain usemod.com.. It began as a friendly fork from the original WikiWikiWeb created by Ward Cunningham, in order to provide a place to have discussions about Wiki outside of the original WikiWikiWeb.

Ward Cunningham created WikiWikiWeb with a primary focus on computer programming design patterns. While the scope of WikiWikiWeb was broad and free-wheeling, users who strayed too far from the focus were considered by some to be WikiSquatting, which means developing their own separate community within the WikiWikiWeb. Some users felt that those who wanted to engage in discussions about the wiki itself and how it operated, referred to as WikiOnWiki discussions, were going beyond the scope of WikiWikiWeb. MeatballWiki was therefore created as a place for such discussions. As Sunir Shah stated in the WikiWikiWeb page referring to MeatballWiki: “Community discussions about how to run the community itself should be left here. Abstract discussions, or objective analyses of community are encouraged on MeatballWiki.”

MeatballWiki and UseModWiki

MeatballWiki is located on Clifford Adams's Internet domain usemod.com, on which Adams also runs the UseModWiki forum, which is a wiki about the UseModWiki wiki engine. MeatballWiki and UseModWiki are thus two separate wikis located on the same Internet domain and using identical UseModWiki software.

As host to numerous wiki-related project journals, MeatballWiki has in turn influenced much of the design of UseModWiki. For most of 2001, UseModWiki was also used to run all versions of Wikipedia. These interrelationships led to MeatballWiki exercising a major influence on the Wikipedia community, as shown by numerous references to MeatballWiki on the Wikimedia Foundation’s Meta-Wiki site.

MeatballWiki and the Wiki Community

The original intent of MeatballWiki was to offer observations and opinions about wikis and their online communities, with the intent of helping online communities, culture and hypermedia. Being a community about communities, MeatballWiki has become the launching point for other wiki-based projects and a general resource for broader wiki concepts, and has reached "cult status". It describes the general tendencies observed on wikis and other on-line communities, for example the life cycles of wikis and people's behavior on them.
What differentiates MeatballWiki from many online meta-communities is that participants spend much of their time talking about sociology rather than technology, and when they do talk about technology, they do so in a social context.

The MeatballWiki members have created a “bus tour” of wikis , which begins at the TourBusStop

One of the key concepts on MeatballWiki is barn raising, which is when a community gathers to take on a specific goal, providing a social event wherein members of a community learn about each other and become knit together.

Sunir Shah created the first internet Barnstars award on MeatballWiki. The concept of "Barnstars" used on MeatballWiki, Wikipedia and many other wikis is a way of recognizing, awarding and celebrating specific individuals within the community who helped with the monumental tasks.

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