Talk:Collaborative software

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No longer multiple issues on the page[edit]

It seems that there is only one pending issue with this page, can someone please change the TAG to just the specific issue? Also I believe it pertains to the section on "collaborative software and human interaction" some references would be of use on this classification scheme for types of collaboration (indeed relevant): Where was this published? This seems to be relevant it is too bad we can use some references here.

Quite on the contrary, I have doubts concerning the classification "By area served". According to the author we can divide collaborative software into: Knowledge management tools Knowledge creation tools Information sharing tools Collaborative project management tools

The issues concerning this scheme are the following: a) I really think "information sharing" to be a common function to all types of collaboration software, is it worthwhile to have it as a "category" on its own?

b) A "knowledge creation" tool that does not include a simple management function would not be feasible, right? In that case is it useful to separate "knowledge management" from "knowledge creation", shouldn't they be both the same given the KM definition: Knowledge Management (KM) comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, *create*, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Nunesdea (talk) 11:11, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

CVS vs. SourceForge[edit]

CVS and SubVersion are more like "version control software", not to mention that GNU Arch is omitted. Perhaps better examples would be SourceForge and GNU Savannah? Also, under Collaborative Media, I think this is now pretty much every weblog from Invisiblog to Moveable Type. Also also, the BBC have H2G2 at Finally, it's perhaps also relevant to mention jwz's article on intertwingularity at (also a definition rescue of wikipedia's entry for intertwingularity would help.) —Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

Today, CVS and RCS are mentioned in the article, in passing. I see nothing about SourceForge or Subversion. Version control software is a prime example of collaborative software; I'll add it somewhere. JöG (talk) 22:02, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

New Scientist article[edit]

(NB - Content is copyleft. It was copied 2002-02-26 under copyleft by Michael Okun from

The Great Giveaway

Good ideas are worth money. So why are hard headed operators giving them away for free? Join our experiment to find out, says Graham Lawton. IF YOU'VE BEEN to a computer show in recent months you might have seen it: a shiny silver drinks can with a ring-pull logo and the words "opencola" on the side. Inside is a fizzy drink that tastes very much like Coca-Cola. Or is it Pepsi?

There's something else written on the can, though, which sets the drink apart. It says "check out the source at". Go to that Web address and you'll see something that's not available on Coca-Cola's website, or Pepsi's-- the recipe for cola. For the first time ever, you can make the real thing in your own home.

OpenCola is the world's first "open source" consumer product. By calling it open source, its manufacturer is saying that instructions for making it are freely available. Anybody can make the drink, and anyone can modify and improve on the recipe as long as they, too, release their recipe into the public domain. As a way of doing business it's rather unusual--the Coca-Cola Company doesn't make a habit of giving away precious commercial secrets. But that's the point.

OpenCola is the most prominent sign yet that a long-running battle between rival philosophies in software development has spilt over into the rest of the world. What started as a technical debate over the best way to debug computer programs is developing into a political battle over the ownership of knowledge and how it is used, between those who put their faith in the free circulation of ideas and those who prefer to designate them "intellectual property". No one knows what the outcome will be. But in a world of growing opposition to corporate power, restrictive intellectual property rights and globalisation, open source is emerging as a possible alternative, a potentially potent means of fighting back. And you're helping to test its value right now.

The open source movement originated in 1984 when computer scientist Richard Stallman quit his job at MIT and set up the Free Software Foundation. His aim was to create high-quality software that was freely available to everybody. Stallman's beef was with commercial companies that smother their software with patents and copyrights and keep the source code--the original program, written in a computer language such as C++--a closely guarded secret. Stallman saw this as damaging. It generated poor-quality, bug-ridden software. And worse, it choked off the free flow of ideas. Stallman fretted that if computer scientists could no longer learn from one another's code, the art of programming would stagnate (New Scientist, 12 December 1998, p 42).

Stallman's move resonated round the computer science community and now there are thousands of similar projects. The star of the movement is Linux, an operating system created by Finnish student Linus Torvalds in the early 1990s and installed on around 18 million computers worldwide.

What sets open source software apart from commercial software is the fact that it's free, in both the political and the economic sense. If you want to use a commercial product such as Windows XP or Mac OS X you have to pay a fee and agree to abide by a licence that stops you from modifying or sharing the software. But if you want to run Linux or another open source package, you can do so without paying a penny--although several companies will sell you the software bundled with support services. You can also modify the software in any way you choose, copy it and share it without restrictions. This freedom acts as an open invitation--some say challenge--to its users to make improvements. As a result, thousands of volunteers are constantly working on Linux, adding new features and winkling out bugs. Their contributions are reviewed by a panel and the best ones are added to Linux. For programmers, the kudos of a successful contribution is its own reward. The result is a stable, powerful system that adapts rapidly to technological change. Linux is so successful that even IBM installs it on the computers it sells.

To maintain this benign state of affairs, open source software is covered by a special legal instrument called the General Public License. Instead of restricting how the software can be used, as a standard software license does, the GPL--often known as a "copyleft"--grants as much freedom as possible (see Software released under the GPL (or a similar copyleft licence) can be copied, modified and distributed by anyone, as long as they, too, release it under a copyleft. That restriction is crucial, because it prevents the material from being co-opted into later proprietary products. It also makes open source software different from programs that are merely distributed free of charge. In FSF's words, the GPL "makes it free and guarantees it remains free".

Open source has proved a very successful way of writing software. But it has also come to embody a political stand--one that values freedom of expression, mistrusts corporate power, and is uncomfortable with private ownership of knowledge. It's "a broadly libertarian view of the proper relationship between individuals and institutions", according to open source guru Eric Raymond. But it's not just software companies that lock knowledge away and release it only to those prepared to pay. Every time you buy a CD, a book, a copy of New Scientist, even a can of Coca-Cola, you're forking out for access to someone else's intellectual property. Your money buys you the right to listen to, read or consume the contents, but not to rework them, or make copies and redistribute them. No surprise, then, that people within the open source movement have asked whether their methods would work on other products. As yet no one's sure--but plenty of people are trying it.

Take OpenCola. Although originally intended as a promotional tool to explain open source software, the drink has taken on a life of its own. The Toronto- based OpenCola company has become better known for the drink than the software it was supposed to promote. Laird Brown, the company's senior strategist, attributes its success to a widespread mistrust of big corporations and the "proprietary nature of almost everything". A website selling the stuff has shifted 150,000 cans. Politically minded students in the US have started mixing up the recipe for parties.

OpenCola is a happy accident and poses no real threat to Coke or Pepsi, but elsewhere people are deliberately using the open source model to challenge entrenched interests. One popular target is the music industry. At the forefront of the attack is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco group set up to defend civil liberties in the digital society. In April of last year, the EFF published a model copyleft called the Open Audio License (OAL). The idea is to let musicians take advantage of digital music's properties--ease of copying and distribution--rather than fighting against them. Musicians who release music under an OAL consent to their work being freely copied, performed, reworked and reissued, as long as these new products are released under the same licence. They can then rely on "viral distribution" to get heard. "If the people like the music, they will support the artist to ensure the artist can continue to make music," says Robin Gross of the EFF.

It's a little early to judge whether the OAL will capture imaginations in the same way as OpenCola. But it's already clear that some of the strengths of open source software simply don't apply to music. In computing, the open source method lets users improve software by eliminating errors and inefficient bits of code, but it's not obvious how that might happen with music. In fact, the music is not really "open source" at all. The files posted on the OAL music website so far are all MP3s and Ogg Vorbises--formats which allow you to listen but not to modify.

It's also not clear why any mainstream artists would ever choose to release music under an OAL. Many bands objected to the way Napster members circulated their music behind their backs, so why would they now allow unrestricted distribution, or consent to strangers fiddling round with their music? Sure enough, you're unlikely to have heard of any of the 20 bands that have posted music on the registry. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Open Audio amounts to little more than an opportunity for obscure artists to put themselves in the shop window.

The problems with open music, however, haven't put people off trying open source methods elsewhere. Encyclopedias, for example, look like fertile ground. Like software, they're collaborative and modular, need regular upgrading, and improve with peer review. But the first attempt, a free online reference called Nupedia, hasn't exactly taken off. Two years on, only 25 of its target 60,000 articles have been completed. "At the current rate it will never be a large encyclopedia," says editor-in-chief Larry Sanger. The main problem is that the experts Sanger wants to recruit to write articles have little incentive to participate. They don't score academic brownie points in the same way software engineers do for upgrading Linux, and Nupedia can't pay them. It's a problem that's inherent to most open source products: how do you get people to chip in? Sanger says he's exploring ways to make money out of Nupedia while preserving the freedom of its content. Banner adverts are a possibility. But his best hope is that academics start citing Nupedia articles so authors can earn academic credit.

There's another possibility: trust the collective goodwill of the open source community. A year ago, frustrated by the treacle-like progress of Nupedia, Sanger started another encyclopedia named Wikipedia (the name is taken from open source Web software called WikiWiki that allows pages to be edited by anyone on the Web). It's a lot less formal than Nupedia: anyone can write or edit an article on any topic, which probably explains the entries on beer and Star Trek. But it also explains its success. Wikipedia already contains 19,000 articles and is acquiring several thousand more each month. "People like the idea that knowledge can and should be freely distributed and developed," says Sanger. Over time, he reckons, thousands of dabblers should gradually fix any errors and fill in any gaps in the articles until Wikipedia evolves into an authoritative encyclopedia with hundreds of thousands of entries.

Another experiment that's proved its worth is the OpenLaw project at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Berkman lawyers specialise in cyberlaw--hacking, copyright, encryption and so on--and the centre has strong ties with the EFF and the open source software community. In 1998 faculty member Lawrence Lessig, now at Stanford Law School, was asked by online publisher Eldritch Press to mount a legal challenge to US copyright law. Eldritch takes books whose copyright has expired and publishes them on the Web, but new legislation to extend copyright from 50 to 70 years after the author's death was cutting off its supply of new material. Lessig invited law students at Harvard and elsewhere to help craft legal arguments challenging the new law on an online forum, which evolved into OpenLaw.

Normal law firms write arguments the way commercial software companies write code. Lawyers discuss a case behind closed doors, and although their final product is released in court, the discussions or "source code" that produced it remain secret. In contrast, OpenLaw crafts its arguments in public and releases them under a copyleft. "We deliberately used free software as a model," says Wendy Selzer, who took over OpenLaw when Lessig moved to Stanford. Around 50 legal scholars now work on Eldritch's case, and OpenLaw has taken other cases, too.

"The gains are much the same as for software," Selzer says. "Hundreds of people scrutinise the 'code' for bugs, and make suggestions how to fix it. And people will take underdeveloped parts of the argument, work on them, then patch them in." Armed with arguments crafted in this way, OpenLaw has taken Eldritch's case--deemed unwinnable at the outset--right through the system and is now seeking a hearing in the Supreme Court.

There are drawbacks, though. The arguments are in the public domain right from the start, so OpenLaw can't spring a surprise in court. For the same reason, it can't take on cases where confidentiality is important. But where there's a strong public interest element, open sourcing has big advantages. Citizens' rights groups, for example, have taken parts of OpenLaw's legal arguments and used them elsewhere. "People use them on letters to Congress, or put them on flyers," Selzer says.

The open content movement is still at an early stage and it's hard to predict how far it will spread. "I'm not sure there are other areas where open source would work," says Sanger. "If there were, we might have started it ourselves." Eric Raymond has also expressed doubts. In his much-quoted 1997 essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, he warned against applying open source methods to other products. "Music and most books are not like software, because they don't generally need to be debugged or maintained," he wrote. Without that need, the products gain little from others' scrutiny and reworking, so there's little benefit in open sourcing. "I do not want to weaken the winning argument for open sourcing software by tying it to a potential loser," he wrote.

But Raymond's views have now shifted subtly. "I'm more willing to admit that I might talk about areas other than software someday," he told New Scientist. "But not now." The right time will be once open source software has won the battle of ideas, he says. He expects that to happen around 2005.

And so the experiment goes on. As a contribution to it, New Scientist has agreed to issue this article under a copyleft. That means you can copy it, redistribute it, reprint it in whole or in part, and generally play around with it as long as you, too, release your version under a copyleft and abide by the other terms and conditions in the licence. We also ask that you inform us of any use you make of the article, by e-mailing

One reason for doing so is that by releasing it under a copyleft, we can print the recipe for OpenCola without violating its copyleft. If nothing else, that demonstrates the power of the copyleft to spread itself. But there's another reason, too: to see what happens. To my knowledge this is the first magazine article published under a copyleft. Who knows what the outcome will be? Perhaps the article will disappear without a trace. Perhaps it will be photocopied, redistributed, re-edited, rewritten, cut and pasted onto websites, handbills and articles all over the world. I don't know--but that's the point. It's not up to me any more. The decision belongs to all of us.

Further reading: For a selection of copylefts, see The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric Raymond is available at

THE INFORMATION IN THIS ARTICLE IS FREE. It may be copied, distributed and/or modified under the conditions set down in the Design Science License published by Michael Stutz at

Text moved from article[edit]

I removed the following text that was posted by User:Quickwik. Quickwick, could you explain what this is trying to say, because it didn't seem to go with the article.

The link on Collective intelligence regards collaboration to enhance individual ability. This relates to the collective intelligence of a group. It is possible with larger number of contributors to acheive collective work than can be acheived by individuals but the nature of the system is vital to that outcome. In the case of things like collective movie review databases it is possible to compile highly accurate profiles of desired films without even knowing the colaborators. In voting methods the collaberation can be a blend of expertice and probability such as when nasa engineers use condorcet voting to select landing sites.

This bit on the voting methods is a little rough. and addresses the prior section.. and is rather wiki self referencial.. It deals with the idea of automated wiki processes for E-Consensus which is worth describing in Collaborative software I'll tweek it here and you can see what you think..

Voting methods[edit]

Voting has many uses in collaboration software. Condorcet voting offers the compilation of input from multiple experts or perspectives and can resolve Intransitivity problems in decision making. In Recomendation systems the rating or voting on many items can be used to formulate profiles for highly sucessful recomendations And, in document collboration such as Wikipedia voting methods help to guide the creation of new pages.

Use of voting to to order lists of sections such as this one on Voting methods remain largely unexplored.

See also Collective intelligence

additional comments[edit]

Wiki could benifit from a resizable frame at the bottom of every page to view edits and (in some cases) options to vote on. For instance this comment is a "section". It would be usefull to be able to vote sections or links up or down a list or pageto organize a discussion. Similarly each section should have a link off to the right side for alternatives of each section which would contain lists of versions or corrections.

By doing this the whole body of the site could be easier to vote on and manage.

This section should be higher on page: This section should be lower on page: Alternative page which lists versions of this section: (does this make sense to anyone? Quickwik ...

Thanks, Wmahan. 03:04, 2004 Apr 25 (UTC)[edit]

Is too specific to be mentioned? absolutly yes

Software list out of control?[edit]

Is it just me or is the list of collorative software 'examples' completely out of control? The applications listed cover a broad range of functionality, including whole difference classes of interactions. Also, are all of the packages listed notable? Perhaps this section should be a new article; List of collaborative software. Autiger 19:40, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Yes, this article is becoming a link farm. In my humble opinion, we need to link to Open Directory Project categories, while simultaneously removing all the cruft from here. It's just getting out of hand. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Work 20:36, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'm going to add a cleanup tag for this purpose. — Stevie is the man! Talk | Work 22:19, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I just moved the "Examples" to List of collaborative software. I'll revise what I think needs to be done with the links: Convert as many external links as possible to internal ones, and eliminate much of the external links if they are not notable (for the notable ones, perhaps create red links to potential articles). — Stevie is the man! Talk | Work 12:51, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Legal aspects[edit]

No-one seems to be talking about this. If I add something copyrighted or libelous to your wiki, are you liable or am I? And how do you know who I am? Maybe this should go on the 'Wiki' entry - but I think it applies to all collaberative software, really.

merge Collaborative workspace[edit]

Should be merged with Collaborative workspace. Comments?

Why? Are they the same thing? — Stevie is the man! Talk | Work 15:27, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Support the proposed merger. The Collaborative workspace stub can't be expanded without overlapping with this article. --Mereda 10:17, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Collaborative workspaces are a type of collaborative software. That stub belongs as a subset of this article.

Splinter Groupware[edit]

Groupware is a pretty specific subset of collaboration software. Would anyone be opposed to me making an article on it (right now it's a redirect). Oberiko 18:32, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

external link to Croquet removed... advertising open-source ??[edit]

I find that many people discussing 'collaborative' in the academic world are not even aware of Croquet.

Croquet is based on Squeak Smalltalk which is found on the OLPC ( as eToys)

Croquet is headed by Alan Kay.

All of these are the titles of articles on Wikipedia

But how could an external link to open-source Croquet Consortium be deemed 'advertising' ?

I hope someone can enlighten me here. All too often a 'See Also' section is missing in articles.

I often add one with links to alternative approaches - but only for links in WP

If I put an alternative link to an open-source project in External Links, is that 'advertising'

What is 'advertising;' in the context of open-source software? My involvement with Croquet does not extend beyond my being on a mailing list. Does that count as 'promotion' ? How often has Croquet been mentioned in any of my contributions to WP ?

If the first of the external links is acceptable in spite of the system that it presents, then how could the link to Croquet not be acceptable. The first is not a 'reference' which is it all it should have been anyway.

If the link to Croquet must be kept out of external links then I do ask that the first be removed as well or that someone explain to me what criteria are being applied.

Please note that Collaborative platform remains a stub. But what is the difference between a 'platform' and a 'framework' in the context of 'software'? And to merge in that old Microsoft canard 'groupware'? Next I will be told that Lotus Notes was collaborative software. And maybe Microsoft Word, to boot. And Novell networks. And MySpace. At least Croquet is collaborative software by design as a framework. As for 'wiki' and 'framework', Smalltalk does come to mind ...

As for the body of the article, I see nothing that merits the term 'software' in the title. A search for Computer Science terms used to describe 'software' turned up no hits in the article itself on this date (070724 1500h CST)

the Section Implementation is an unreferenced editorial[edit]

The absence of references is very tell-tale in this article.

The Section Implementation is an unreferenced editorial.

copy from workgroup support systems - this does not contain any information not covered in collaborative software imo[edit]

Workgroup support systems, (WSS) are elaborate online systems designed solely to improve the performance and collaboration of teams. WSS supports the sharing and flow of information by creating more efficient and effective means in which work groups can collaborate and communicate ideas and opinions to one another.


Main article: Groupware

Groupware is the foundation on which every Workgroup support system is built. Groupware is a combination of software and software components which aim to improve and build upon team productivity and performance through supporting and improving team dynamics, document management and applications development.

Team dynamics[edit]

Team dynamics are the correspondence and interactions (whether they be in the form of e-mail, online conferences, discussion postings or other types of virtual workplaces), carried out between members of a team in attempts to arrange and follow through with meetings and collaborative exercises.

Document management[edit]

Document management refers to the usage of a group document database which is a database used for mass storage of all documents pertaining to specific groups.

Applications development[edit]

Applications development refers to the systems which allow groups to create their own individual and unique databases quickly and easily in order to improve the team’s productivity.


A good example of groupware within business is Ernst & Young’s AWS program. Ernst & Young is a large international accounting firm with a large client base. While performing audits, keeping organized can be difficult, especially with the mass amounts of client documents and work steps. Audit Work Station solves these problems. Accessible by the whole audit team, AWS host’s files and work steps that makes an entire audit clear and concise. Four different windows can be viewed simultaneously- Work steps, Associations, Evidence, and fast text. With these four panes, a team member can look under a work step, see evidence backing up that step, see other evidence or files associated with that step and look at any notes made on the files. While two people cannot work on the same file at the same time, the file remains accessible to all team members and automatically updates with saving changes.

This program has significantly improved the efficiency and speed of an audit team. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that it brings the whole team together. File sharing is quick and easy, reviewing other team member’s files is made simple, and there is no waiting on files that another team member might be in possession of (They are accessible to all team members).

One example of an improvement could be enabling two or more team members to work on the same file or document at the same time. This would be beneficial for the review or editing process in that multiple team members could discuss and make changes while in two or more different locations.


  • Haag, Stephen, Maeve Cummings, Donald J. McCubbrey, Alain Pinsonneault, and Richard Donovan. Management Information Systems. Third ed. McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 2206. 25-27.
  • Brink, Tom. Usability First: Groupware Introduction. 1998. Foraker Design. 23 June 2006 ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:49, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

Marketing Weasel Words[edit]

"The design intent of collaborative software is to transform the way documents and rich media are shared to enable more effective team collaboration."

Can someone here please translate this from bullshit corporatese, into English? I came here to learn what groupware was, and I am no closer to that goal now, than I was before I accessed the page. (talk) 05:56, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Improvement of Collaborative Software article on Wikipedia[edit]

  1. The order of Gethering applications & wikis are quite strange. It should be edited in different place.
  2. The classification of Collaborative project management tools and Collaborative management tools should not be below Collaborative project management tools, it should be isolated.
  3. "Some authors argue they are equivalent.[who?] " Try to find the resource to support this.
  4. There are lots not places where "MUD" occurres, but only one place there is link to MUD.
  5. Collaborative software and human interaction part needs more resource to support that.

Rocioluo (talk) 16:06, 13 November 2014 (UTC)Chen Luo

HardTime101 (talk) 15:39, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

As part of a graduate studies project at the University of Pittsburgh iSchool the group that I am working with is going to review and make updates to this article to improve its content and rating

The updates that I am proposing...

  1. Reference updates
  2. Content Edits for clarification, simplification and modernization for the reader.
  3. Update "Collaborative software and human interaction" section to include a more modern definition of collaborative software.
  4. Update "Collaboration software and voting methods" section by expanding recommender system discussion.
  5. Update "Collaborative Software Vendors" to include MS SharePoint.

HardTime101 (talk) 15:39, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

I'd like to see some updates on grammar and punctuation

Here are some examples...

2nd paragraph - "with respect to information technology" could be better represented "in regard to information technology" or "in terms of information technology"

3rd paragraph - "Collaborative software helps facilitate action-oriented teams working together over geographic distances by providing tools that aid communication, collaboration and the process of problem solving." Add an Oxford comma to "communication, collaboration, and the process of problem solving." Or else omit the Oxford comma in the following sentence.

3rd paragraph - artefacts should be artifacts unless stated otherwise according to vocabulary specific to information science.

3rd paragraph - again, either use the Oxford comma throughout or do not use it at all.

Mek135 (talk) 16:18, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

Collaborative writing?[edit]

Could collaborative writing be integrated somehow in the article? Implementations range from Wikipedia (Wiki) to Etherpad (Collaborative real-time editor).
--Fixuture (talk) 20:44, 6 April 2015 (UTC)