A wiki is a way of publishing information online which enables people to directly contribute to and comment on the editing of that information. Documents can be edited collaboratively by a number of people online. Updates on editing of documents can easily be subscribed to using RSS feeds.

There are different ways of setting up a wiki, you might want to get some help setting one up, or experiment for yourself using a service such as wikispaces or pbworks.

If you use Gmail you can access a service called Googledocs which also enables collaborative editing of documents.

View the video Wikis in Plain English

  • Wikipedia is the largest online encyclopaedia – the content is created entirely by users over a wiki platform

Benefits and advantages

  • They are collaborative - work created online is a group effort
  • They promote openness and transparency – everyone can see how the information is being formulated and edited
  • You can create public or private wikis
  • A simple way for dealing with complex editing of documents online
  • Not dependent on time or location to take part – could be useful for Groups who find it hard to meet up face to face on account of distance or time commitments

Risks and disadvantages

  • Participants may need some training on how to use the wiki to begin with
  • It is worth laying out some ground rules on participation before you begin, ie. Will the final edited version of the document be taken forward with all edits included?
  • Wikis aren’t for everyone – you may need to consider an alternative method of contribution too – for example, a document attachment to an email


Armchair Involvement Guide 2009