MotherWiki exist so that people can try out a wiki, at very low cost, and see if it “works.” If it works, (that is, if people like wiki, find that it’s useful, are productive with it,) then the people can think more seriously about operating their own wiki, or finding a dedicated hosting point for their wiki.
The idea is that it takes some time for people to get used to wiki, and to figure out what kinds of features they would like or need. It takes a long time to set up a wiki by hand, and many people don’t even know if a wiki will even help them.
So using a MotherWiki, you can just make up a name of a wiki you’d like, and bam– it’s all set up for immediate use. No obligation to use, no upkeep maintenance hassles, just see if you like it.
We think wiki is very useful for a lot of people, we believe in ThePublicWeb, and we believe in WikiAsYouLearn. Promoting the MassUseOfWiki and MassCoverageByWiki are ways to achieve these goals. We think there should be a wiki for just about everything (WhenToUseWiki.)
A MotherWiki would ideally feature things like:
The holy grail would be WikiFeatures:MobileContent, the ability to easily move or copy pages across wikis and blogs. The whole point of the MotherWiki is to produce children that will leave home one day. WikiFeatures:MobileContent would make this easy to do. Its implementation will require work on a WikiInterchangeFormat.
The HardSecurity? controls, such as the SurgeProtectors and LinkBanning? are so the owner of the MotherWiki doesn’t have to babysit the wiki too much. If people have to ask for a key in order to make a new wiki, it’s not easy enough. Yet, the wiki can’t become a warez or porn server, either. So, we need some basic HardSecurity? measures.
The simple syntax and few features make it easy for newcomers to figure out what’s going on. The number one complaint from newcommers is that they have to figure out the syntax. WysiWyg? was one of the two big focuses of the WikiSym. (The other was spam control.) Simple syntax & few features also makes it easier to migrate the content to another wiki.
The shared help system is so that each wiki doesn’t have to manage it’s own help PageDatabase.
Included in the help system would be some integrated guides on how to advertise to people who would be interested, seed the wiki with content, and start building something.
If you had a MotherWiki, you’d be able to start new wiki with ease, and then upgrade them to full-fledged independent wiki when the wiki had achieved sufficient size.
Oddwiki used to be a good example: Not a bare bones setup, no limits on page number, page database size, or bandwidth, partakes banned content network, has mobile content (migration to other Oddmuse wikis documented and encouraged). Unfortunately, it attracted a lot of spammers and few people were interested in spam fighting for others. Spammers also figured out how to create a new wiki for every single page they wanted to create.