An Install of Wiki

The plural of wiki is wiki, not wikis. In the singular we ambiguously say a wiki, short for an install of wiki.

The grammatical distinction is between count and noncount nouns.

When used as a noun, wiki refers to a mass of pages, or when federated, a mass of sites. In context wiki can refer to a single install but this usages doesn't generalize.

In the abstract sense: "seek the wisdom of wiki"

In the count sense: "update wiki before you go"

When used as an adjective, wiki describes a style of collaboration. A wiki site. The wiki way.

The wiki encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is an encyclopedia where editors collaborate the wiki way.

When we say a wiki, we are using wiki as a noun, as a shortening of an install of wiki, just as one might say a coffee as short for a cup of coffee.

A wiki as short for an install of wiki becomes ambiguous under federation where we are as likely to be referring to a page of wiki or a neighborhood of wiki.

Similarly hypertext has become a mass noun that could equally refer to a document of hypertext or a world wide web of hypertext.


But you can have two coffees, as in two cups of coffee. That’s what “two wikis” means, isn’t it? twitter

That usage presumes a wiki is a site just as two coffees assumes a coffee is a cup. This breaks down under federation.