Lewiki is a wiki for the Lake Erie West region. Well, that's the plan, anyway. Whether or not it gets used for maintaining info beyond just the Toledo area remains to be seen. Hopefully, it won't be focused on only Toledo.
Reason for Lewiki
So why not have a Wikipedia type of site that collected facts about our region? Some info about northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan can be found at Wikipedia, to be sure, but the nitty-gritty, low-level details about all the communities in our region, including info about festivals, parks, neighborhoods, schools, sports, history, etc., won't be at Wikipedia.
Sidenote: Since my documentation skills suck, you may not understand what I'm trying to say, and you'll probably have trouble understanding the help page. Everything here is a work-in-progress. It should get better over time.
Anyway, I posted a comment to Toledo Talk on Aug 19, 2005 where I tossed out the idea of a Wikipedia-like site dedicated to our area.
I've thought about adding a wiki area to this site, where logged-in users could add, edit, and update information about northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, I mean Lake Erie West. It would sort of be a mini Wikipedia or encyclopedia of just our area where the users are the content providers.Some people may not be interested in discussing or debating issues on a message board, but they may be interested in sharing their knowledge about this area. In a wiki, no single user owns any of the content. It's sharable. If I started a wiki page on the history of the Swan Creek area in downtown Toledo, I would expect many others to edit the page and contribute info and correct mistakes.
About that Swan Creek mention, last summer I saw an excellent two-hour slide-show presentation at the Downtown Latte that was about Swan Creek in the Warehouse District. That kind of fascinating and detailed history should be made easily available over the web.
Well, articles based upon facts with references is the goal. The articles should be about the northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan region. Articles are not a place for opinions. A comment to an article can be used for opinion.
I suppose a Lewiki blog posting, which is technically an article, could also be an opinion. But it really needs to be about Lewiki, and it really, really needs to be a well-thought out opinion, and not simply something like, "That sucks!" which would get deleted.
Articles under the taxonomy or directory structure started on the main page should be based on facts and not opinions. If you really need to let loose with a diatribe, use Toledo Talk.
Lewiki requires more work and discipline of the user who would be better called a writer. Researching information, providing footnotes and references, using proper grammer, and good writing style, takes more time, but it's worth it. And don't fret too much about these things. Do the best you can. Since a wiki is a collaboration tool, allowing any logged in user to edit an article, someone else can fix any grammer, punctuation, spelling, or style errors. Everything is a work in progress.
Toledo Talk and Lewiki are two different programs, each using a different "user" database table. If I was starting Toledo Talk today, I would use my new program, and the blog area at Lewiki would be what is now Toledo Talk. But since they are two different apps, Lewiki has its own blog area, which is described below.
If a user clicks on "sign-up" at Toledo Talk or at Lewiki, the user will be given the Toledo Talk sign-up page. An account will be created and activiated in both "user" database tables.
A user has to log into both Toledo Talk and Lewiki to use both programs. Logging into one does not get you automatically logged into the other. Again, for a new community project, I would use this new program that powers Lewiki to be both the blogging and wiki tool.
Nothing is physically deleted. Even if an article is wiped out, an older, good version can simply be made the main version again by editing the older version and clicking the "update" button.
Since a username is needed to create and edit articles, it's easy to see who intentionally blanked or defaced an article or published libelous information. It's easy to remove a bad article from being displayed, and it's easy re-instate a good version, but it's still a waste of administration time. The offending user account will be deactivated. If a user deleted at Lewiki, that user's account still exists at Toledo Talk.
File uploading does not exist at Lewiki. Web hosting for Toledo Talk costs $10/month, and at that price, not enough disk space exists for a lot of file uploading, which would primarly consist of images, I think.
The blog area at Lewiki is reserved for posts specifically about Lewiki and wikis in general. Ideal subjects for Lewiki blog posts would include web site functionality issues, complaints, article style issues, Lewiki questions, features to add or remove.
For website bugs and features, however, it would be nice if users added a comment to the website issues article. But if a new blog posting is used instead, no big deal. The feature or bug will be added to the website issue article, anyway.
Each article allows commenting. Or it should, except for the main page article that lists some of the counties in the Lake Erie West region.
Commenting on an article is an option for those who may feel intimidated with editing an article and having to deal with HTML or Textile markup. If some aspect of an article needs added, changed, or removed, a user can choose to make his or her suggestion with a comment. Someone else can edit the article according to the info in the comment.
General discussion about an article can also be done with commenting, as long as the comment is about the article. The comment area should be used as a tool to improve the article.
Last fall, I created a blog/wiki hybrid app, and I used that app to create Lewiki. I have a couple other projects I plan to use the program for. The source code for this program will be made available soon with the hope that better programmers can improve the code. I wrote the program with a work environment in mind. That is, I thought the program could be used by a small business or a small workgroup behind the firewall as a simple collaboration or project management or knowledge management tool.
Each user has a personal blog/workspace area, but this feature is turned off for Lewiki. A couple of other features are turned off or won't be used at Lewiki, but they could be useful in a work environment, such as permalinks on paragraphs (paraperms), which are similar to Purple Numbers. It's a metadata feature.
This app does not contain groups and fancy access control lists. Other programs contain those features. The idea with this app was to keep it simple for the user and administrator. Publishing should be as simple as sending an e-mail. If it's any more complicated than that, the app will have a hard time getting adopted in the workplace. Creating connected content with internal linking is simple with a wiki.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or problems.