Norwalk LocalWiki is a free, English language encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit LocalWiki. The name wiki refers to the technology used for this type of collaborative website. It is derived from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "fast". The idea behind it was to create the simplest computer based information exchange device that would possibly work.
Norwalk LocalWiki's articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers from all walks of life. Contributors are not necessarily in or from Norwalk, they can be from around the world. Almost all of Norwalk LocalWiki's articles can be edited by anyone who can access the website.
Norwalk LocalWiki was founded on January 3, 2009 by Greg Bard. It is hoped that it will grow into the most popular reference for information about Norwalk on the Internet.
Norwalk LocalWiki is modeled after the success of Wikipedia, the general reference website which has become the number source of information around the world. Usually when people search for things on the internet, the Wikipedia entry for the term is the first thing to come up. The Wikipedia community has a developed a standard of notability for its topics. Many locally significant topics are deleted as non-notable. In order to pick up the slack, the Norwalk LocalWiki was born. Sure Wikipedia has an article on the Norwalk Islands, but only Norwalk Wiki has an article on Grassy Island, for instance.
The wiki format is not without its own issues as an information medium. Critics claim that it has systemic biases, articles may not be consistent, and that there are consequences to the policy of relying on community consensus in the editorial process. Reliability and accuracy are an issue. Other fears are centered on its susceptibility to vandalism and the addition of spurious or unverified information. However, due to community monitoring, vandalism is generally not a problem at all.
Increasingly, wikis have become not only an encyclopedia, but also a frequently-updated news resource. It is hoped that with the increase in contributions to the Norwalk Wiki, it will become a source of breaking local news.
Also very interestingly, and yet conversely, the wiki is an excellent historical resource. It may be used to document historical facts, events and places. It may also serve to "get the story straight" with the help of a community of editors.
Collaboration is the prevailing trend of 21st Century. Contribute your knowledge of Norwalk today!