Why wiki?

What's this for?

This site is about life as we know it in Columbia City, Seattle. Like many good things here, you and your neighbors get to pitch in and help make it work. It's about connecting, sharing information, and making good ideas happen in our community.

If you're a Columbia Citizen, you know who you are, and you'll find no hard & fast definitions here. Sure, you might live in Hillman City, Brighton, Lakewood, Rainier Vista, Genesee, Seward Park — or some other even more exotic place. Feel welcome to visit and to contribute.

What's a wiki?

A wiki — that probably does bear some defining. According to Wikipedia, the world's largest wiki site:

A Wiki (wĭ'kē) or (wē'kē) is a type of website that allows users to add, remove, or otherwise edit and change most content very quickly and easily.

The beauty of a wiki is that anyone can contribute content to the site; there's no single editor or editors who choose what goes and doesn't go. Instead, that's done through the process of people making big and small additions, deletions, or modifications to existing and new pages. That means you, too!

This site is a customizable piece of the internet where Columbia Citizens can edit content, upload files, communicate and collaborate.

What can I do here?

Find out what's happening.

  • Check out the calendar and alert people to upcoming neighborhood events.
  • Read the Wikli, the neighborhood e-flyer.
  • Browse through recent news articles or share a recent e-newsclip.

Connect with your community.

Sign up.

Work together.

Share your local insights, tap into other perspectives.

Live locally!

How's it different?

Columbia City already has a lot of great online resources, like websites and email groups. Let's not try to replace any of those. Instead let's use the wiki to point people to those sources and to focus mostly on what the wiki does best.

Like an email group, a wiki can be a useful way to share information among neighbors or members of a group.

Unlike an email group, a wiki shouldn't clog your email box (though you can arrange to be notified of certain changes). It's all visible to anyone, 24/7. The information you see here stays here, at least until someone comes along and changes it.

Just like a typical website, you can read, browse, search, and find information. Hopefully you find something interesting and useful. Ideally you find or propose something you'd like to make happen.

Unlike a website, you get to be an active participant. There's no one person who calls the shots and writes all the material. If you find inaccuracies, you can change them. If your experience of the neighborhood isn't represented, you can add it to the mix. Nothing is especially permanent, and changes are easily unmade.

Like a community, this wiki is what you make of it. Ideas and information might be hasty, inappropriate, cluttered, or disjointed. There can be conflicts among users in style or substance. There can be dialogue, compromise, and a level of tolerance for differences. Like a community, a wiki is basically just an experiment in connecting, getting along and working together.

What are the risks?

This is a loosely supervised public forum. Anyone can view it, and anyone can make changes. Thankfully the wiki medium doesn't lend itself to spam, so spammers generally ignore it, and any wiki-graffiti is easily erased in any case.

This wiki caters to relatively small (but select!) user group, and blatant abuse is unlikely. A much bigger risk is that Columbia Citizens won't find it or recognize its potential. Let's make sure that doesn't happen.

If you see a problem or anything here that makes you feel uncomfortable, you're empowered to change it. Or send a note and spell out your concerns.

Ground rules & pointers

There aren't many. Mostly, they're the same norms that make for good neighbors:

  • Respect — allow for privacy and differences of opinion,
  • Neighborliness — please pay attention to the tone and content of your edits,
  • Communication — work out conflicts, assume good faith, and remember that often there's no substitute for connecting in person.

As you're wiki editing, consider these points:

  • Keep new draft pages under wraps ("orphaned": unlinked to other wiki pages) until you've got something you're ready to share. That keeps clutter and confusion to a minimum.
  • For time sensitive information, be specific about dates. "Next week" or even "August 7" can be confusing if content is left untended for a long time.
  • Once you're ready to share a page, you can attach it to its appropriate "parent" (usually one of the main pages in the "contents" drop-down list, above). Use the "options" > "parent" buttons at the bottom right.
  • How will the page reach its intended audience? You might want to send people the page link via email. That's a fine strategy, but use your discretion. The wiki shouldn't clog local emails, even indirectly.
  • Be prepared to have other people edit your stuff — even those literary gems. It's the way of the wiki.

How do I do this?

It's pretty easy to edit the wiki. Hit the "edit" button at the bottom of the page or the top of the sidebar — that opens an editor. You then enter or replace text. The editor's toolbar is a handy way to adjust layout and to insert links. If you'd like more background, check out this resource. Otherwise, simple is good.

To take part, you're welcome to create a free Wikidot account, but you don't have to. Just click the "create account" link at the top of the page, and fill out the entries.

If you'd like more help with edits, check out the Wikidot community page, or send a help request and we'll see what we can do to help out.

image by Janice & Jer
image by DawnOfTheRead
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License