Ward Cunningham

I created the federated wiki and administer several servers hosting many dozens of sites for myself and others.

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

Ultimate Operational Goal

We look forward to the day when every computer user has all the wiki sites they might need without seeking anyone else's help. That day has not yet arrived.


I created the first wiki in 1995. I created several versions including the one documented in The Wiki Way by Bo Leuf and myself. I was happy to see others innovate in the form and especially admire the Wikipedia technologies and communities.

Lineup Activity shown -- Eight weeks of work for this talk. The spark lines show activity for selected pages up through revising the acknowledgements the day after presenting.

Struggle for Focus

I created this site while developing a talk that eventually became Federated Wiki Design Principles.

I struggled to find a focus. I started this site when I settled on ten principles. In Q&A I was asked how sites are linked. I dredged up the original Splash page, dragged it to the lineup, and showed how I could fork it here.


I created the federated wiki and administer several servers hosting many dozens of sites for myself and others.

I often create wiki sites for talks that serve both as collections of resources while writing and a lasting supplement to the slides. See Other Wiki Talks

Mike Caulfield has supported my work by both building communities and reflecting on how technology helps them work. He has been the first to fork pages from this site.

Mike Caulfield makes a lot of federated wikis and imagines a future where you will too. He's forking these pages not to improve them but to better explore them.

# Audience

We address two specific needs. First there are site owners who now face operational issues and must learn about administration. Then there are the skilled administrators who have been asked to help and must learn about federated wiki's specific needs. We write for both of you.

We've recognized the need for institutional sites from the beginning of this project. Their needs are varied and their professional administrators demanding.

See Nick Persona, one of many roles we seek to please.

Our approach has been to simplify our designs by avoiding dependencies unless those dependencies are fundamental to the federated experience.

Where our work meets others we can expect unlimited adaptations. We want to hear about all of them.

Here I explore principles guiding federated wiki. This work is in support of, and complementary to, my invited talk at Splash 2014 in Portland, Oregon, my home town.


I've been aware of wiki's limitations since the beginning. I have had the opportunity to address many of these with a single page javascript cross-origin application.

Many contributors have guided or sometimes done the work of making software. See Wiki's Open History

# Contribution

We hope every administrator will find this site's organization useful and fork content into similar sites of their own. We'd like to hear about it.

We also expect to disappoint many looking for actionable advice to specific problems. We'd like to hear about it.

Please send links to pages you have written that please you and links we have written that disappoint.


We'll try to answer any question. Tell us as much about your system and circumstances as you can. Also tell us where you looked and terms you used to search.

Aside: we host these pages 8,000 miles from home in order to experience daily the impact of network delays.