What’s in a name? In the case of ‘wiki’, lots of things.

Anyone who’s been watching the news will have heard about Wikileaks by now. Wikipedia shares the generic “wiki-” prefix in its name, but there’s no relation. Occasionally even major news sources like the BBC get this wrong, which can lead to serious confusion, even when it’s quickly fixed.
If anyone has a claim to the word “wiki”, it would be the Hawaiian people. In the Hawaiian language, wiki means “quick”. The words “wiki wiki” on a shuttle bus in Honolulu inspired software engineer Ward Cunningham to name a revolutionary piece of software – the “WikiWikiWeb” – in 1995. This software allowed people to instantly edit web pages, collaboratively.
Wikipedia was created six years later, based on the same principles. By that time, the word “wiki” was used already by a ton of different wiki software implementations. Today, you can go to the “WikiMatrix” website to compare them all. They have names like Wikidot, TWiki, or Wikispaces. Moreover, there are many, many content websites that use “wiki” in their names. Among them are Wikihow, Wikitravel, WikiAnswers, and Wikia.
Most of these projects are completely unrelated to Wikipedia. Wikipedia is operated by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, which was founded by Jimmy Wales in 2003. The Wikimedia Foundation operates a number of other free knowledge projects: Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikispecies, Wikinews, and Wikiversity. It also organizes and supports development of the MediaWiki open source software.
The names of Wikimedia’s projects are trademarked. The word “wiki” isn’t: anyone can use it. Wikileaks and most other projects with “wiki” in their name have no relationship with us. If you see news organizations making this error, please email them or post a comment pointing to this blog post.

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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Wikileaks isn’t exactly a wiki. While they used wiki software as a content management system the last time I checked, Wikileaks doesn’t share the “anyone can edit” philosophy: public editing, and even public commenting, have long been completely disabled on Wikileaks. They need a change of name!

I believe Wikileaks used to have user editable talk pages. In any case, they’re probably stuck with the name whether they like it or not.
Besides, we should be able to turn having the word “wiki” out there so much to our mission’s advantage …

You can also read the “wiki” in Wikileaks as reference to the Hawaiian “quick”, which makes more sense then editing. In the contrary editing Wikipedia is not that “quick” anymore, given the complexity of its syntax and community rules ;-). I like the connection between Wikileaks and Wikipedia – both share the idea of free knowledge. Wikipedia collects from what is published and Wikileaks publishes the unpublished.

Thank you for this information.
Hopefully in the future every media with false information read this post.
Go Go Go Wikipedia! 🙂

No one should confuse Wikileaks with Wikipedia, especially after the negative comments about Wikileaks from Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger. Wikileaks cares about keeping vital information flowing to citizen voters of democratic nations; Wikipedia is more about censorship and serving as a puppet for governments. Again, how could anyone possibly confuse the two?

[…] for ‘untouchable.’ Wikipedia wants to make sure you know that, despite the similarity in their names, it is not affiliated with Wikileaks. The origin of the word wiki? It means ‘quick’ in the […]

I am pleased to learn what’s in a name, today. Having learned more about The Wikimedia Foundation I am feeling that a donation, from me, is forthcoming. I would love to volunteer to help Wikimedia. I am a picture learning, keyboard capable two thirds of the way through my first century of life teachable person who is enriched by Wikipedia.

Wikipedia has also been in the news in recent history after the IP adresses of ‘contributors’ were traced to US government departments, Sinn Fein and the Vatican. It’s easier to censor Wikipedia than Wikileaks.
Wikipedia is worth donating to though, where would we be without it. It’s fantastic.

I have been a financial (and avid vocal) supporter of Wikimedia for many years. When this whole “wikileaks” scandal made headlines I was shocked. My fear was that Wikileaks was a project of my long-loved Wikimedia. I researched that irresponsible website (via Wikipedia!)and to my relief found NO connection. I am grateful that this blog-post was written and I will share this blog with the people I know… so THEY know Wikimedia IS a responsible organization!

comment removed at request of commenter

So thy have connection, they use same “web interface”…

Tim: Larry Sanger hasn’t been involved with Wikipedia for something like 8 years now.

Insan bir kez yaşar,Yaşarken görür,Dert çekmez,Dert ile yaşar.

[IN REPLY TO COMMENT 5468 FROM @Cori Salmon Photography]
While we may differ in viewpoints about WikiLeaks’ mission, Wikipedia strives to be uncensored. You are right; major governments do make significant contributions to Wikipedia content to shape it in a way that benefits their cause. Much of major government content is public domain, which makes it usable on Wikipedia (this is also a contributing factor). It’s also so popular (you can get everyone to think things based on our content).
Anyway, with an “anyone can edit” model, biases do happen, but don’t think of Wikipedia as a government-written puppet.

Is it not unusual for the same sentence be used by two people who post? Number 5 and 10 must have a talking points bulletin.

So if Wiki means quick pedia means ?

It isn’t wikipedia, i think they choose the name because wikipedia is a well known source of information. So with people making wikipedia short to wiki, they want to tell us there good too

@Dominique
Ever heard of “Encyclopedia” Dominique? Or Paediatrics? Or Pedagogics? “Pedia” is Greek and means “pertaining to children or child”. Wikipedia means “fast child”… 😉

Sorry for not replying about “Wikileaks”, not having informative news about this matter in Baja California, Mexico. Educated friends here in Baja are generally doctors, not knowing of Wikipedia, thinking that Wikileaks is a new name(Wiki)…much less equating Wikipedia with Wikileaks…
I am just informing myself what group or person “leaked” government documents to the public specifically, the world generally… except for third world countries.
To date, I shamefully, don’t know who made public these sensitive documents, but I will do my best to inform myself in the near future.

I would say that about 60 to 70 % of all progressive readers care very little for people’s simplistic and predictable contributions here that try to apologize for any association with or distance themselves from Wikileaks. These contributions are behind the times as well as clumsy and the contributors obviously can’t see the woods for all the trees, in other words the bigger picture.
The issue at hand here is the possible and permanent demise of free speech as well as journalistic freedom and license!

I am a big fan of Wikipedia. Trust me. If you have superior trade mark firm you can make the claim to “secondary” meaning in many, many regions/markets of the world with the name “Wikipedia” Wikileaks is such a very strong association with Wikipedia that I at first def associated it with Wikipedia. And I am not dumb either!!!! I am an ordinary person but I am in the branding business….if I were YOU I would move to cease and desist and claim the rights to “Wiki” on the basis that YOU made it broadly famous in primary markets of… Read more »

Gabe, who believes that criticism of Wikileaks can lead to “the permanent demise of free speech as well as journalistic freedom” clearly doesn’t understand journalism, much less “journalistic freedom.” Those of us who work in the field know that the first obligation of journalism is to seek the response of all involved parties before publishing. To do otherwise is to turn rumor into fact, suggestion into reality, and – too often – sheer dirt into fool’s gold. By Gabe’s description, it would be an expression of “journalistic freedom” were I to break into his home, steal his checkbook, and publish… Read more »

no, gabe — answers.com says “enkuklios paideia” is the source of the word enclycopedia, with paideia meaning a general education, and i think that’s a lot more plausible …