Over the last twelve months we have been carrying out a complete technical review of the infrastructure and software we use to serve Wikispaces users. As part of the review, it has become apparent that the required investment to bring the infrastructure and code in line with modern standards is very substantial. We have explored all possible options for keeping Wikispaces running but have had to conclude that it is no longer viable to continue to run the service in the long term. So, it is with no small degree of nostalgia, that we will begin to close down later this year.
The free sites and classrooms, popular with teachers in particular, are shutting down July 31, 2018. They have made it as easy as possible for people to export their content, as outlined in their documentation (also suggest copying and pasting, so…).
Like what we saw recently with Storify shutting down (note to self: export those storifies you’ve made over the years), educators and others have found themselves in a bit of a problematic situation in terms of the platforms we use (and encourage students to use) in order to do work publicly and openly. How do we ensure that students know to download their work if they still want it? Where can we access the collaborative nature of the wiki in other online spaces that aren’t just for single broadcast purposes?
I, personally, was never that into wikis, but of course Mike Caulfield managed to convince me:
First, the nature of the wiki consensus helps guarantee a fair treatment of issues from multiple perspectives.
Second, the nature of wiki (when a particular scale is met) is that it is quick to respond to new information — much quicker than more institutional processes.
Finally, wiki is iterative — which means as new information comes to light, fact-checking articles can be kept up-to-date, even years after the fact.
I’d encourage you to re-read his piece The Garden and The Stream: A Technopastoral and think about what the demise of Wikispaces means for the shape and form of the Internet. This closure is so much more, to me, than the (potential) loss of intellectual property and agency, but also a loss for how the Internet could work, rather than how it does.
How are you going to deal with the closure of Wikispaces? Alternately, what wiki tools do you rely on?