Wikipedia:Don't abbreviate "Wikipedia" as "Wiki"!

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Wikipe-tan reprimands a foul-mouthed newbie.
See also meta:Wikipedia is not Wiki.

"Wiki" is not a proper name. Please understand that "wiki" is a generic term that describes a type of website or software. There are in fact many wikis in existence. Therefore, referring to any one of them using the capitalized "Wiki" is incorrect at best, and to a somewhat experienced Internet user, can be altogether painful to hear.

Although your intentions may be obvious, such a blatant misuse of language is nevertheless painful.

To illustrate, imagine seeing someone say this:

"Tree's leaves are turning pretty colors. I think Tree looks nice today."

Feel that pain? This is what experienced Internet users feel when people use "Wiki" to refer to "Wikipedia".

For the health and well-being of the community, when referring to this encyclopedia, either type out the entire word, "Wikipedia", or use the abbreviation "WP".

Proper usage guide[edit]

The word "wiki" can be used in a number of proper and inoffensive ways. Below we compare and contrast the do's and do-not-do's of "wiki" usage, complete with excessively complex grammatical explanations.

Example #1: Plural noun[edit]

"Wikipedia is my favorite website." – User 1
"Well, I don't know about that, but it is certainly the most useful of all wikis." – User 2

Notice that in User 2's comment, the word "wiki" is in its plural form, "wikis", having a plural "s" on its end. Since the plural form of "wiki" always acknowledges its generic nature, this usage is Approved.

Example #2: Singular noun[edit]

"Wikipedia pages are loading slowly for me in the last couple hours. Has anyone else noticed this?" – User 1
"Yes, the wiki seems to be operating slowly today." – User 2

In this example, while the word "wiki" is now in its singular form, and "wiki" does seem to be referring only to Wikipedia, the article "the" now appears before it. This implies reference merely to one out of a possible many different wikis. Since User 2's usage is still as a generic noun that acknowledges the nature of the object it describes, rather than being a proper name for a singular entity, this usage is Approved. (Similarly with demonstratives: "This wiki is better than that one.")

Example #3: Proper noun[edit]

"Wiki is where I go to research my brain medicines." – User 1

Notice that in this example, User 1 has used "wiki" as a proper name. Since there are many possible wikis that User 1 could be referring to, and since "wiki" is not a name but a generic description for many different websites and software packages, this usage is wrong, blasphemous, offensive, and Highly discouraged. User 1 is also admonished for seeking to use Wikipedia as a source of medical advice.

Example #4: Colloquialisms[edit]

"How many admins does it take to change a light bulb?" – User 1
"Let's discuss this off-wiki." – User 2

Some colloquial terms or phrases may incorporate "wiki", but are nevertheless unique terms in and of themselves, not requiring adjustment to accommodate the specific institution being referenced. In this example, "wiki" should not be considered alone, but rather as part of the term "off-wiki". "Off-wiki" is generally used as a stand-in for "outside of the current wiki", which as you can see, implies the article "the". Therefore, as in example #2 above, this usage is Approved.

Discouragement[edit]

You can discourage others from abbreviating Wikipedia as Wiki using this template and userbox:

Template[edit]

Don't abbreviate "Wikipedia" as "Wiki"! There are other wikis out there – Wikipedia is just one of them.

When encountering improper "wiki" usage in the wild (on talk pages), the following code can be used to place a graphical warning:

{{daw}}

or

{{Don't abbreviate Wikipedia as Wiki}}

Produces the graphic seen to the right, complete with a link to this essay.

Userbox[edit]

Show your support — place {{User notwiki}} on your userpage.

It'll look like this:

Don't abbreviate as Wiki (no text).png This user feels physical pain when hearing others refer to Wikipedia as "Wiki".

See also[edit]

  • c2:WikiIsNotWikipedia, the converse rule.
  • {{Notwiki}} – a template geared to explaining the distinction between wiki and Wikipedia at the end of a post about some other matter.