When Ward Cunningham first innovated the idea of putting an “edit” on every web page, the world was enriched with the concept of the Wiki. Now, he’s gone a further step and given the world the “fork” on every web page—everyone maintains their own version of their changes and data with the Smallest Federated Wiki. Wired Magazine was a little too clever with their headling “Wiki Inventor Sticks a Fork in His Baby” for me to initially realize what he was changing about the Wiki philosophy. Fork, is very important, here. Given that for someone to maintain their own “version” of the data obliterates the problem of spam in your collection of documents. Sure, anyone can put spam into their own collection of documents—but the spam only gets into your collection if you put it there.
Here Comes The Future What I haven’t seen next is the next step—authenticating forked content by a cryptographic signature of the originally forked data that shows us if it the fork-ee’s data has been modified by the fork-er after forking. Fork fork forkity fork fork fork. This is going to be hot, and the way we look at embedded information on our content is going to change, forever. If the content isn’t signed by the publisher, it cannot be trusted and you shouldn’t embed it unless you wish to look like a fool online. This is of course, a double-edged sword for people in politics, who often wish to say things to sway opinion that generally get lost in the noise. That which is signed-said [with a timestamp] cannot be unsigned-said, only apologized for with a new signature. The record of your communications cannot be obscured or obfuscated. Because there is no undelete on the Internet, you should Own Your Words, officially, and be smart about your “bygones.” [More popularly understood as "foot-in-mouth" events.]