WikiWashed by WikiLeaks

27 December 2010 § Leave a Comment

“Greenwashing” is explained by the Greenwashing Index as “a company or organization spend[ing] more time and money claiming to be ‘green’ through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact. It’s whitewashing, but with a green brush.” Hannah Klein Connolly offers a similar account of pinkwashing: “the activities of companies and groups that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to rising rates of the disease.”

Taking greenwashing and pinkwashing as models, I define “Wikiwashing” as “representing a web site that is not a wiki as being a wiki.” What makes a web site a wiki is that anyone in the group of people primarily intended as the audience and user base of the wiki can edit the wiki web site. Ward Cunningham, a wiki pioneer, describes the wiki in the following manner:

A wiki is a body of ideas that a community is willing to know and  maintain. That community has every right to be cautiously selective  in what it will groom. This particular wiki [Cunningham's] has been blessed with thoughtful, diligent, diverse and open-minded volunteers, who have  invested years learning what works here and what doesn’t. When volunteers tire and depart, others take their place. I remain amazed  that this works without mechanically enforced authority. Possibly it  works because there is no mechanically enforced authority. In any  event, I remain grateful to all volunteers, past, present and future.

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