I've noticed others make an important distinction between these two words but it is not the same distinction I make. Without resort to dictionary I will express my views.
I cooperate with my housekeeper when I stay out of the living room while it is vacuumed. I also leave a check, as expected, on the kitchen table.
Although initially different our interests have been aligned by our employment agreement.
Contracts align business interests and allow people who don't much like each other to divvy up responsibilities and get things done.
Q; Would the word "cooperate" work for you if the users mean it in terms of Cooperative? Some writers may be using this word to describe the fedwiki in this way. It's not in the "play nice" and get out of my way while I vacuum, I think it's more in the "shared experience" of caring about the same house.
I collaborate with other developers on the federated wiki project. We follow an elaborate dance of branch, commit, push, pull and publish.
Although initially different our interests have been aligned by a shared understanding of code and a joint commitment to put it to work for others.
The internet has allowed us to find each other and github has allowed us to familiarize ourselves with each other as we invest more into this relationship.
A good contract aligns business interests and allows people who may or may not like each other to divvy up responsibilities to get things done. Like it or not, somebody has to vacuum the floor.
The original wiki made no distinction between users other than that which was recognized by writing style or admission. Instead authors learned to accept each others edits as made in good faith.
Wikipedia developed logins, classes of users, edit counts, barn stars and arbitration committees. In spite of this the best projects depend on mutual trust that comes from a shared commitment to purpose.
Federated wiki aspires to support diverse styles of interaction. Competition, cooperation, collaboration. All should work but competition seems healthy as new means of monetization surface every month. We draw careful bounds around trust but hope to have created sufficient mechanisms to drift into deep commitments to each other.
For some users, the federated wiki is cooperative as in "Cooperation dates back as far as human beings have been organizing for mutual benefit" Link to collaborate about "deep commitments" but then again, at least one writer enjoys destroying the rules of semantics and grammar. She has also been trying out both of these words to describe the experience of fedwiki writing, and neither really cut it.
Collaboration & Cooperation are terms to describe working together but they're not mutually exclusive. As with any group endeavour there is complexity in relationships and there is often areas that overlap.
But is there a difference in how that effort is focussed?
Collaboration often means working 'on' something. There is a project, a paper, a work that needs to be completed by having people work on it together.
Cooperation is often working 'around' something in a kind of spatial sense. You share space, interests, knowledge but it is work that is proximal - 'around' rather than as clearly 'on'. It's looser, less restrictive, less demanding as their is a sense of self still attached. You still own your space - where as collaboration often means surrendering the thing your working on.