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[school-discuss] Why Wiki Authentication

There is this utopian perspective inherent in the wiki, which is essential in its design.  But lets get real about the Internet.  There's lots of unsavory folks who have full Internet access.  

My wiki is all about "anybody in the community can write", but the community is carefully bounded.  People who have registered can write, and anyone else can view (most of the time).  It's a wiki about emerging educational technologies, and in my classes students are required to write to it, edit it, add and delete, and explore it with the protection that what they write will be respected -- which is a promise that is difficult to keep if everyone in the world has access.

My students, who are teachers, sometimes try it with their students -- the latest was a 9th grade female geometry class in a Christian school.  This wiki was protected with authentication during this time trial.  Imagine if the wiki url were published, if perhaps, someone not in the class put offensive material of any kind, but especially something sexually explicit.   The experiment would end at the first view by a parent -- the lesson learned would be that wikis are not for education, not for kids.  And that's wrong.  

I see in my router logs, my server logs, my email, in tons of articles, the overwhelming evidence for the dark side of the internet.  We have to recognize this exists if we are to enable people to use great tools like wikis without being left seriously vulnerable to predators, especially those who are in sensitive and influential moments of their development, as children are.



> If I could add my own two cents, I think what the initial reply was saying
> is this: requiring registration on a wiki is against the whole idea of a
> wiki because it shuts some people out.
> My opinion is that, while requiring user registration before posting on
> Wikipedia would be against the idea of Wikipedia, the philosophy of the
> wiki technology itself does not reject restricting access.
> Wikipedia and many other wiki's emphasize the decentralized paradigm of
> offering a body of pages that anyone can modify. However, the wiki itself,
> if I am not mistaken, was initially created as a way for a community of
> users to quickly (hence wiki) and easily create and modify pages together.
> Restricting that community is not against the idea of a wiki, and
> unfortunately, because of undisciplined, inscrupulous, or just bored
> people trying to abuse open wikis, it seems to be becoming more and more
> necessary.
> > On Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 12:42:25PM -0500, Bill Barowy wrote:
> >> ????  Who were you (michael dean ) responding to?
> >>
> >
> > What I'm confused by is how a forum would replace a wiki, in terms of
> > functionality.
> >
> > It's like saying one should use a chat hotline instead of the dictionary.
> > (Or... okay, that's a pretty lame analogy, but...  my point is, while
> > somewhat similar, the purpose of a wiki and a forum are _totally_
> > different.)
> >
> > -bill!
> >