Midtown: Community

Creators make final push for Triangle Wiki

The Triangle Wiki is making a sprint toward the finish line, and you’re invited to join in – no running shoes required.

The long-term vision is to completely document the Triangle in a free online encyclopedia entirely written and edited by users.

But before they can go public, they need some existing content to make sure first-time users have a reason to spread the word and come back.

So this Saturday, they’re inviting everyone interested in contributing to the Red Hat headquarters for a “content sprint” to create as many new subject matter pages as possible in one day.

Volunteer Hilary Stokes hopes that getting everyone together in one room will create the momentum needed to hit the 700 pages of quality content needed for public launch.

“Sometimes people need the energy from the group to kick off a project,” Stokes said.

The goal is to create a hyperlocal version of Wikipedia, the gigantic free online encyclopedia written and edited entirely by users.

Raleigh’s version is currently usable, but password-protected. It’s set to open the site to the public in March – as long as it has enough content.

The site currently has 468 pages from 80 contributors across the Triangle. About 150 have volunteered to chip in, but nearly half remain inactive.

The group needs contributors with extensive knowledge of local lore from people to places to historical events, as well as photographers to illustrate each page and programmers to help the whole thing run well.

“A person’s first visit to the wiki needs to be positive. If there are only a handful of pages, people wouldn’t see the value and would never return,” Stokes said. “The spring session is just that final push that helps us build enough content so that we can open the wiki to everyone.”

The all-volunteer group has been reaching out to city groups as well in preparation for the site launch. City of Raleigh Public Art Coordinator Kim Curry-Evans said her department is excited about a proposed map of all the public art sites in the city suggested by the group. The department has its own website, but she is excited by the interactivity the wiki will offer.

“This is a great way to communicate about public art and let it be a dialogue instead of just a monologue,” Curry-Evans said.

The site has its roots in the folks from CityCamp Raleigh, but they hope the effort will take on a life of its own in the community.

“We want this site to be created by and used by the local community,” Stokes said. “That’s how we will know if it is successful.”