(Anytime you see a WikiWord - a word with caps in the middle - you can go to it on the wiki at (for "WikiWord", as an example) http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiWord . I'll try to point you to interesting stuff.)
Before Wikipedia was, EyeAm. --Wiki
This is the original Wiki, as well as the first Wiki software. The so-called Portland Pattern Repository was built as a point of collaborative writing about PeopleProjectsAndPatterns (This is a WikiWord; see below). It goes by other names including Ward's Wiki, just "Wiki" within itself, as in AcceptableCriticismOfOoOnWiki, and often just "the first Wiki". I've always thought of it as just "that wiki on c2.com."
Wiki was distinct at the time for allowing anyone to simply jump in and contribute. It maintains the distinction of not requiring or even allowing some kind of username/password; any sort of identity is optional. Much grooming of the wiki happens silently by the work of many hands.
The wiki is still an active community, to some degree, but in the early 00's it developed a lot of internal bickering on different issues and also attracted different outside pests (spammers, anon, WikiSquatting).
Feeding the ongoing growth is the influx of new users; you can have a look at CategoryHomePage to see the accumulation of contributors with some attention span. About anyone reasonable can jump in and be respected as a contributor. Users are free to improve and "refactor" almost any part of the site within the bounds of Wiki's limited etiquette. Unfortunately, some sections like the AntiPatternsCatalog have grown enormous for lack of culling over years of free individual additions.
The topic PeopleProjectsAndPatterns, with regards to software, is supposed to summarize the content of wiki. This is a very close approximation, but the topic has grown to simply be "software development" with special emphasis on ExtremeProgramming and patterns.
Here's what's under discussion as I'm writing this, according to RecentChanges:
- The LeadingRequest AntiPattern (I'm a participant)
- Several topics about JVM languages (OtherLanguagesForTheJavaVm...)
- Several topics about reporting tools (ReportMill...)
- Topics about Rest (RestIsJustSqlReinvented...)
- Other odds and ends like ProgrammerSmoking
Wiki can be surprisingly quiet on some things that aren't part of the zeitgeist, though. The RationalUnifiedProcess is barely discussed at all; any methodology other than XP will get only secondary discussion. Microsoft and Sun tools may go undiscussed because the preference among the XPers is to use something open source or more like SmalltalkLangauage. RubyLanguage, PerlLanguage and PythonLanguage get quite a bit of discussion time. There's plenty of discussion of CeeCeePlusPlus and other tools that are either universal or old-timey; there's talk about the UnixNature and general hackish stuff, as well as CobolLanguage and old technology like that.
People on the Wiki
Generally, a discussion between multiple parties is had with real names (in WikiWord format, such as WardCunningham). People who participate or even just read are encouraged to leave a page named after them detailing their experience on the wiki. Real names are preferred, but some participants (such as TopMind) prefer either two initials or some nickname.
A lot of semi-famous people have participated in Wiki over the years. Most obvious is WardCunningham who invented the damn thing. There are a great many old hands of XP who participate, including KentBeck. AlistairCockburn, a popular author on "agile" programming practices, makes occasional contributions. There are plenty of others who I won't bother finding or naming, but if you have a book on an agile subject, try putting in the author's name and see what comes up.
WikiFormatting and style
Anyone can edit wiki, and the formatting is meant to be adequate for discussion rather than rich. WikiWords, as I've been using them, are the way to form quick links within wiki; any WikiWord will simply become a link to the page of the same word. All pages have WikiWords for names.
A quick outline of everything else:
- Line breaks will become line breaks in wiki. No messing with br or p tags as in E2.
- '' acts as opening and closing italics, like the i tag. ''' goes for bold.
- URLs with a leading http:// get automatically turned into hyperlinks
- A space before a line places it in a source code-formatted group with similar lines above and below it.
That's a baseline for contributing. There is a lot more, but you will usually be able to copy what's there, either through a template or through similar pages.
How trouble is handled on Wiki is quite distinct from E2; there is no merit system, no voting, no messaging... There isn't even a login system, so it's quite easy for pests to cause trouble through impersonation.
Aside from people just generally being assholes within discussion, there are a lot of different sources of unwanted crap on wiki. Some of these are minor, and some have lead to active, constant, obvious conflicts, as you'll see later. These are my ideas of the greatest sources of trouble, in order of least to most severity, but those on Wiki might disagree.
The source treated with the greatest friendliness and deference is WalledGardens, or closed in sets of pages without much reference to content outside themselves. There are typically left in place but noted.
Slightly more troubling is WikiSquatting, where outside parties use the wiki as the host for a completely off topic purpose. Frequently, this is actually the result of some kind of classroom use. I've hardly ever seen this treated harshly, but it is usually removed when found.
Next is spam. I've never seen any spam on wiki, myself; it seems to have dissappeared now that Google isn't actively indexing the wiki. (This is an independent problem.)
Last but not least, see AnonIsStillBanned for details about anon, the bane of RecentChanges.
Here's a totally subjective, off-the-cuff good list of places to jump in to find interesting stuff on the wiki.