David | Aug 8, 2006

I have an idea….

Wiki’s have become awfully big, and they’re great at semantically linking information together. However, they’re most suited towards documentation and fact gathering. I’ve seen one site - The Fiction Wikia - that tries to apply the wiki concept to story telling, but I think it has several shortcomings. The most notable is that it forces each and every author on the site to use the same license, the GNU Free Documentation License, which is great for information sharing, but is in my opinion not well suited to the fiction writer. In my opinion, the Creative Commons licenses are much more appropriate, and provide the freedom and flexibility needed for sharing fictional work.

Enter “wikshun”. Wikshun is not a single site, but it is an approach to writing. The idea is to create a mesh of wiki-like sites, each under the control of a single author. On each site, the author would publish their own fiction, and optionally host that of other authors in their own namespaces.

The author(s) would then enhance their fiction by providing semantically linked detail for each story. For instance, on the first appearance of a character’s name, it would be a link to a character bio, either in a generalized “characters” namespace, or under the exiting store (Story/CharacterName). The same type of linking could be applied to settings, dates, special objects or items (i.e. Tolkien’s “Ring of Barahir”).

What does all this get you? Well, with each new page standing as an individually copyrightable piece of work, each author can choose to apply different licenses to different pieces. For instance, I may not want anyone deriving directly from my short stories, but I’m more than happy to not only let people derive from, but directly copy and use my characters as described in their character sheets.

I might also be more than happy to let authors place their stories in some wonderful setting I’ve invented. With each new tale that takes place there, the setting itself can become expanded and enhanced. With using wiki technology, these stories can be interlinked relatively easily, allowing for writers to concentrate on doing what they really want to do - write.

Why would anyone want to do this? Well, for one, it’s a good way for new authors to expose their work to the world, under their own licensing terms. Licenses could range from the GFDL all the way to the typical restrictive copyright, and an author can have finer control of what he would like to allow other writers to use.

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