Ward Cunningham

Here I collect notes, mostly from my own writing, in preparation for an invited presentation at the TeX User Group conference.

Aside: When wiki was young my visitors would write with cliched acronyms like IMHO or OMG but I would remove them which gave my site an air of authority.


With federation I can now make wiki sites with the frequency I once wrote documents. I hope that some of these sites launch lasting conversations building on the vocabulary thus created. Or, if people just read them, that's ok too.

I've been writing about federated wiki in federated wiki for about two years. I make a new site whenever I think the useful page count will grow beyond three or four.

This site is already seventeen pages. Most of these have been 'forked' from other places and sometimes modified slightly to serve my purposes here.

I started with the abstract I had already written. Then I went browsing for ideas supporting that abstract and inserting them in as links.

This leads me to think more carefully about ideas when preparing to speak. I use to just try to figure out how to work particular slides into a flow but the slides are too specific to let me think freely.

When I'm done with this page I will have a story that is worth converting to slides and that I will feel good about presenting. I also end up with a living resource that is more connected than just posting slides online.

I drifted into this when I created a site after-the-fact for a 2012 talk. I recently demoed at the 2014 conference and applied the same technique there, only without slides.


I wrote Federated Wiki while I served as Nike's open-data fellow. I currently work for NewRelic in Portland, Oregon.

We show how federating wiki enables a new paradigm for instrument control, data collection, interpretation and open publication. Txtzyme provides a model for programmable instrumentation with client and server-side plugins supporting it.

Agile programming and Wiki hypertext emerged together out of a single vision of completing each other's work. Twenty years later we see opportunity to direct this collaboration toward more difficult problems. This is not your father's wiki.