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The subwiki.org website contains a number of subject wikis in separate subdomain. Each subject wiki functions as an independent and separately managed unit. This article describes some general attributes of subject wikis.

What is a subject wiki?

A quick definition

A subject wiki is a wiki whose focus in terms of content and perspective is a specific subject.

The content focus: Most content on the wiki is directly related to the specific subject, and most material related to the specific subject is covered in the wiki.

The perspective focus: The organization of content, both within articles and across articles, is done keeping the needs and goals of the subject in mind. Thus, an article on the same topic may appear very different in different subject wikis, and may be organized or categorized differently.

What is a subject?

Subject wikis are currently at an experimental, pre-alpha stage, so the definition of subject is still very much in flux. Here are some possible general guidelines:

  • A subject that deserves a wiki of its own should have a reasonable coherent mass of content, or a basic body of knowledge, along with its own distinct perspectives, needs and goals.
  • The subject should have a strong core (giving character and cohesion to the subject wiki's content) with a large periphery linking the material to other subjects.
  • Under the current setup, subjects as used in subject wikis refer to academic subjects with huge bodies of knowledge, whose core is not determined by topical news and events. For instance, Salman Rushdie and Harry Potter are not suitable for subject wikis, even though there may be huge boies of knowledge on both. Karl Marx is not a subject, but communist theory may be. The distinction can get muddled at times, specifically for subjects whose significance is historical or cultural.
  • The core of a subject wiki should be strong enough that most of the links are internal. In other words, most of the questions that arise naturally from reading one topic article in the subject wiki should be answerable by reading other topic articles.

Can subject wikis have overlapping themes and content?

Overlap of content between subject wikis is a good thing, as long as each subject wiki has a different overall perspective and goal. For instance, topics in human behavior are of interest in economics, psychology, anthropology, history and many other subjects. Commonly used ideas within a broad discipline may get different kinds of treatment in its subdisciplines. For instance:

  • The concept of a chemical bond is of importance in chemistry. The subdiscipline of chemical bonding, the subdisciplines of chemical reactions and their kinetics and equilibrium, the subdiscipline of energy changes in chemical reactions, the subdiscipline of analytic chemistry (testing of compounds), all look at bonds from somewhat different angles.
  • The notion of price is of importance in economics.