Welcome to the Wiki, business owner! Because you're part of the Boise community, we'd love to have you become a part of the wiki community. Here's an introduction that might help get you started on the right track. You also might want to read the general welcome.

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Please read the page on the Importance of using your RealName. You should not edit as BusinessName, or FakeName. Using your RealName adds credibility to your edits and your business.

  2. You can use the wiki to engage your customers in a productive dialogue that will demonstrate your customer service to everyone who reads the page about your business.

  3. You can add plenty of useful content to your business' page, but it is edited by the entire wiki community. That includes, but is not limited to, you.

  4. Please understand that even though the page is about your business, the page belongs to the community. So generally, business pages are written in the third person rather than the first person ("they offer" instead of "we offer"). And while detail about your business, including special offers, is welcome, please try to avoid having the entry read like ad-copy. In fact if your edits are too glossy they will be undone by other editors!

  5. People will leave negative reviews. Don't worry too much about this; look at the pages for other businesses. Take a deep breath— customers sometimes forget that business owners have feelings, and write things that are much harsher than they would be willing to say in person. For medical professionals, this wiki software includes a HIPAA Restrictions macro that is placed on any business listing for a medical professional that explains why HIPAA restricts how a doctor or medical professional can comment on whom his or her patients are.

  6. The wiki is a great place to explain policies that customers may not be familiar with. For example, the Restaurant Guide and Tipping pages illustrate a few policies from an industry standpoint. Businesses can take the opportunity to respond to comments and in doing so have cleared up misconceptions about standard business practices. Such business participants educate not only those who left the comment, but all who read their responses.

  7. Both you and your customers have important things to say, so don't remove their comments. Old comments from business pages are archived (and are available via a link) so that past performance will not outweigh recent changes. The wiki isn't anti-business, but we are pro-consumer and need your input to help us achieve a good balance. Also, all edits remain in the page history, so simply removing them will appear to be an attempt to cover up problems. Try addressing the problem directly—it looks good when you leave a (friendly) reply explaining or offering to resolve any problems patrons have noted on your page.

  8. Sometimes people will add untrue stories or facts. This has nothing to do with the wiki... these people walk through Boise all day long and are saying the same things about your business; you just never had a chance to hear them. Instead of these stories being whispered behind your back, you now have an opportunity to address any rumors, bizarre anecdotes or out and out lies floating around Boise. Keep in mind that simply trying to delete the stories from the wiki won't remove them from the casual sidewalk and workplace conversations that spread such rumors, and sometimes makes it look like they may be true and you are trying to "hide" things. While it can be frustrating to read incorrect information, patiently addressing your customer's comment or clarifying what happened in a misrepresented incident gives you an opportunity to respond to the things people are saying about your business on the streets of Boise.

That being said, use the wiki! The traffic generated by the wiki makes it the ideal place to get the word out about what you offer. Do you sell a unique product? Do you offer hard to find services? Do you offer regular coupons? Let people know!

However, this wiki software is provided by, and the wiki is hosted by, a non-profit organization, and so we prohibit advertising; wiki pages should be informative and not promotional. Instead, offer a link to your business page where you can promote your business and list prices to your hearts content. The wiki, though, is a fabulous place to engage in dialogs with your customers through the comment system. But please see the for-profit restrictions page for more details on the line between informing the community and directly promoting your business.

Just keep in mind that it is an effort by the community to document itself: the profile of the Mayor is written by a group of people...just like it would be by The Idaho Statesman... but unlike in a newspaper article the records are open: there is no such thing as a "staff article" or "staff review." Each individual editor is tracked, and as a result, each individual line can be accounted for. As a result, the process is more open and auditable (click the "Info" icon on any entry, and you can see the entire history of exactly who wrote what). In addition, businesses have the ability to respond directly, as opposed to a newspaper review. If the print edition of Boise Weekly gives your business a negative review, you may have no real recourse. Here on the wiki, you can address a negative review and answer the individual directly and publicly. It is sometimes a bit alarming to realize that there are people saying negative things about your business, but the people who are saying those things are already complaining to their friends and peers, often on various websites and their own blogs. The wiki gives you an equal and open forum to address their complaints... and most businesses find that their happy tenants and customers step up to defend them as well. Fundamentally, when it comes to content on the wiki, everybody in the community is equal. That means that the tenants/customer/clients have a say, but unlike a newspaper article or traditional website, so does the business owner. The entire community has an opportunity to have input equally, including you. Please respect that.

The community as a whole can do some fantastic work; for example, take a look at the Davis Wiki, a much more established wiki: the entry on dogs provides invaluable resources for dog owners, and a local theater uses the wiki not only to tell its history but also to share news of upcoming events. Or see how the property management company Tandem Properties uses the wiki to tell the story of their environmental stewardship and social responsibility—and of course provide information about their properties and services as well. In general, if it is part of Davis, eventually somebody adds it to the Davis Wiki—and the same will likely be true of Boise's wiki as it matures. You (as part of the Boise community) are more than to encouraged to contribute. Most editors will also work to help you as much as we can: we all want to make sure the wiki is as factually correct and up to date as possible. If you have any specific questions about anything, always feel free to ask.