comparison of vs. NOTE: Photo now outdated. Based on feedback on this page, we will be figuring out a way to keep the Oak logo & domain name in place.Oakland Wiki runs on the LocalWiki software. The LocalWiki team has been working on a new version of the software for close to a year and it’s getting close to launch (expected launch in June). We have to figure out whether we’d like to move to the new version of the software.

The new version is a bit of a different model from the current model. Right now, all the different LocalWikis around the world are separate..they live on their own websites. About a year ago, looking at the fact that many of the projects failed to get traction (often because it was hard to find and raise awareness of the sites in the first place), the LocalWiki team decided to shift development to more of a federated model where the sites are interconnected and part of a LocalWiki network.

After work on it for quite some time, it’s getting ready to launch. There’s actually a live alpha of the new site (with full functionality) already up at There have been a number of communities who have started new LocalWikis over there. Many existing LocalWikis (like Seattle, Toronto, Santa Cruz, Raleigh, and more) have already moved over to the platform and soon sites like Davis & Rochester (which are both running a completely different software called Sycamore) may move as well.

There’s been a discussion on the Oakland Wiki listserv about moving with some folks in favor and some against. We don’t have a good way to make the decision, but this entry should give everyone the info that will help us decide.

What would change

  • Domain name
  • Logo (for now)
    • Currently there’s no logo, but this is something that is being worked on.
    • Logo will remain in some way. We’re not sure of how this will work visually. Gene’s suggested a few possibilities. We’ll figure something out. -philip
  • Being separate from other LocalWikis
    • There are a number of ways that the sites are interconnected on the platform (for example, you can search across sites) but there’s still possibly more development that will happen to allow each site to best benefit from the work on other sites. For example, you could choose to have Oakland content come up when people search for things in nearby areas and vice versa.
  • New features
    • All new features are being developed on the new version of the software and if we stay on the current version, we won’t see them. New features that are already live on the are: address-based search on maps, being able to make entries from the map, user pages, user contribution history (like a recent changes feed for a user), user stats, cross-LocalWiki search, ability to follow users, pages, and cities (with email notifications when edits happen); ability to see all activity across all regions, having a personal feed that only includes the users/pages/cities that you’re following, and social sharing buttons (”share on twitter” etc.). There will be more features and design things that change before the launch as well.

What wouldn’t change

  • All current site functions won’t change - editing screen, mapping tagging, etc.
  • Content won’t change - A large number of existing LocalWikis have migrated to the platform and all content including text, maps, images, and tags was preserved.
  • Local control of content - LocalWiki the organization will remain hands-off on content (meaning that it won’t make any kind of interference into what people are working on in Oakland)
  • Custom banner on the homepage - we can still have our own custom banner.

What if we stay on current software?

  • We would keep the domain name registered and pay for it - very cheap, around $12-$20/year, and would be necessary if we keep it as a redirect anyways.
  • We would host the software on our own server and paying for it (not as cheap as $40/yr, but not very expensive. If we fill up our server space and have to move to a bigger server (as happened when we were unable to save new changes or find saved changes through search), we’d have to do this ourselves.
  • Because bug fixes & new features will only happen on the platform, we wouldn’t see those unless we updated our server ourselves.


Visual design and customization

Please note that the design of LocalWiki is still in flux, but the image above gives a visual sense of the changes as they are now.

Marina says (on behalf of LocalWiki): “The sites that you see on are still not yet complete in terms of visual design. The idea is that we’re sort of starting at a blank slate of visual customization (i.e., currently no logos, etc.), but trying to figure out which elements of visual design are important to contributors and actually help get new viewers and contributors. So we will work with everyone and experiment to see what works and what doesn’t work (we’ve already experimented with a bunch of examples and you can participate in the process by drafting your own suggestions here:, looking at number of contributors, edits, etc., and the feedback that we get from people, and add things. For the short term we want to test things out without them *so* that we can figure out which pieces are important for increasing participation and which pieces aren’t.

Also, many of these things are kind of counterintuitive. It’s frequently assumed that things like a logo, domain name, etc., are really important elements that show local ownership, which leads to more people trusting the content and the site and wanting to become contributors themselves, but it’s really hard to tell to what extent that’s actually true. For example ArborWiki (which has been around for many years) didn’t have a logo until about a year ago. The lack of logo didn’t make much difference in the first years of the site and hasn’t really had an effect on contributorship since then. There are also many sites with custom logos and domain names that fail to get any traction at all (this probably applies to most of the LocalWiki sites). And since migrating to, active sites like Santa Cruz haven’t had a significant change in contributorship (meaning that there was no drop-off).

From working with the different LocalWikis, we’ve seen that the things that help people trust content and feel ownership over an online community and information source are much broader than things like the domain name and unique visual elements. In many instances those things are very much outweighed by other, unrelated elements. For every site, the single best predictor of community adoption is having good content that shows that local people have written it (which we have).”

Search engine ranking

There have been concerns about our search engine ranking going down as a result of the switch.

Marina wrote in an email to the list: “One of the major reasons that drove the decision to move to a platform model was SEO and content discoverability. The basic idea is that if everything lives at variations of one url, that any content on that url gets better SEO juice and that any new content added to the site immediately benefits from being a part of an already highly-ranked site (similar to how any new entry on Wikipedia benefits from being on and when any entry on Wikipedia becomes more popular, it boosts the other pages).

To give a sense of the size of the platform, the current dashboard of is showing that there are 69,000 entries already on it: Some folks expressed concern that sites like Oakland and Davis would take a hit to SEO by being affiliated with, but I don’t think that’s true. For example, Ann Arbor recently moved over and it looks like “Birthday Deals,” one of their most popular entries, is still the top hit for “Ann Arbor birthday deals” search: I think that given the size of the platform and how much more growth is possible on it, that we will eventually very much benefit in terms of being discoverable (more so than we are now).”

Would Oakland content be in one indistinguishable mass among content from other cities (the way things are on Wikipedia)?

No. Content is still tied to its region. See for example Ann Arbor. Recent Changes per region will remain. You will also be able to see all the people associated with a particular region based on who follows that region. And if you “follow” a city, it shows up in your profile (which of course you can customize however you want) - here’s an example:

Open source?

Current version of the site is open source and new version will also be open source.

What feedback has there been from Davis Wiki (not migrated yet) & other communities that have already migrated?

Marina says: There have been some folks who have been unhappy with the migration, but the overall experience is that most communities have been excited to move over. We’ve seen no drop-off in contributor numbers on projects that have migrated and no significant increases in contributors either (yet). We had a banner on Davis for a few months about the change and got only a handful of questions and no concerns.

When would this happen?

The new site is going to launch within about a month. LocalWiki staff is working on inviting all the existing projects to join before then. Davis should move before then as well.

Why did LocalWiki decide to take this new approach with the new version of the software?

Marina says: “We wrote a big blog post in 2013 that explains a lot of the reasons: In short, the key drivers were to help every community have a LocalWiki by making it much easier to start and run a LocalWiki in your city (no technical administration), increase discoverability of all the sites, resolve region issues (Emeryville? Oakland? East Bay? Bay Area? etc.), and make it easier for the site to act as a global open knowledge platform (answering questions like “what could we learn and what could we do if we had local knowledge from all the communities and could look for…anti-nuclear activism (for example) in every city?). Ultimately, the question was “what do we actually have to do to help every community in the world create and build and have its own LocalWiki?”

Plusses & Minuses

+ Plus:

  • more features developed
  • show data from different localwiki communities alongside one another
  • administrative costs of maintaining the system are far lowered
  • more coherent
  • sites are interconnected on the platform
  • ability to bookmark entries and get updates about them
  • having recent changes and other “discoverability” tools more prominent
  • potentially larger community of editors
  • common login
  • more content possibilities
  • greater legal and technical stability
  • a larger conglomeration of wikis would be better able to coordinate around and handle a legal threat

+ Also discussed, but Oakland Wiki would get if we updated the software on

  • searching for addresses to get a point on the map
  • creating entries directly from the map
  • ability to add pages from the main page
  • detailed user stat
  • ”Open Street Map” model

- Minus:

  • loss of local ‘feel’ / LocalWiki pages feel more generic
    • pages reside on a sub-directory instead of domain
    • no more custom favorite icon (for now)
    • no more Oakland Wiki logo at the top of every page (for now)
    • stumbler won’t sense the oakland pride! (possibly)
    • Pages will reside on as before. (Still figuring out the exact implementation here)
  • deprecated software / no longer going to be improved and maintained / risk of not receiving maintenance
  • need to host separately / personal Amazon AWS account
  • official city borders limit our access to information. (how so? we can link to anything)
  • our community occupies multiple spaces


Feel free to include comments/questions above, but also wanted to leave this section open for people.

  • So am I correctly in understanding from the wording “There are plans to move to to be better connected with other local wikis” that this seems to be a done deal as far as moving over to the website? Several of the other Wikis tagged above don’t seem to have put nearly as much work into their sites as we have, so their moving onto the new site isn’t such a big deal. The pride of working on this project that is a locally, home-grown effort by people who really care about Oakland has been rewarding … not sure just becoming a small cog in a giant wheel feels all that rewarding. Why do we want and/or need to be connected with other local wikis? Aren’t we doing a fabulous job just on our own as a strictly Oakland project? JL
  • @JL: I don’t agree that the other wikis have not put in as much work into their sites: Santa Cruz, Raleigh, Sacramento. They might not have 6000+ pages, but they’re in the thousands, for relatively small cities. I agree with you, emotionally, that there is something lost in terms of the home-grown quality that exists in the OaklandWiki name, but I also believe there is much to gain from being connected to other wikis. As I stated in an email to the group, most of us are part of many communities, and Oakland is just one of them. Having a consistent feel, and the eventual inter-connectivity between all the different local wikis will be worth for me the temporary inconvenience of blending in to the other cities.. -jarios
  • @JL: To me, the “home-grown” feel is at the heart of it. The Local Wiki pages feel generic and homogenous. There’s nothing about the LocalWiki Berkeley or Santa Cruz pages that says “home-grown”; it feels like one of many small cogs in giant, impersonal machine. -Gene
  • Gene, that’s exactly my feeling … the lack of a special home grown feel of the other local wikis is very impersonal and just not appealing. Oakland Wiki currently has a wonderful vibe about it, something that sprung up through the hard work of a few locals that really love Oakland, and want to share that with the community. I just think switching our local project over to a giant, generic website with everything in controlled templates would completely diminish the positive qualities we all so admire about Oakland Wiki and are putting in a great deal of time and effort to preserve. And if it’s more about the money involved to pay for our own server space, as well as future expansion, I’d be more than happy to donate the annual fee involved … and although I can’t speak for other active members, there are probably those who might also contribute to keep the site going as it it currently.

still wondering about JL’s question about this being a done deal? is it? how feasible is it to maintain OW as a standalone? from previous email discussion it sounded not-so-feasible. -gk

  • Setting up the LocalWiki software to keep OW standalone is very feasible. It would be something of a pain the first time, but not impossible. Kind of like installing and configuring WordPress (which powers many websites and blogs) or MediaWiki (which powers Wikipedia). -Gene
    • so my understanding was that, while installation would be doable, maintenance would not be that doable? Something about how the software won’t keep being updated unless we’re on the LW site? am i confused? -gk
      • A bit :-) While some software like WordPress can be semi-automatically updated, the LocalWiki software on OW would only be updated when we installed an update. But that’s easier than installing it in the first place. -gene
        • from opensource novice: how would we know there were updates? would this be an auto thing like the announcements on the WP software? -gk
          • It would depend on how LocalWiki chooses to set things up. The software page is currently unreachable, but announcements could be automatic, via an email list, or require manual checking. -gene
      • My understanding is that no one is actively updating the old localwiki software because everyone who was working on it have moved to development. If we want to make any improvements/security updates, someone would have to take on this responsibility. -jarios
        • Okay, so how is this going to be decided? Is it just a matter of finding one of us who will take over the responsibilities of updating the software in order to continue as a standalone website? And exactly how many of the regular contributors want to stay as a standalone vs. how many of the regulars want to merge with JL
        • There’s no reason we have to stay with the old localwiki software, assuming the new version is also open source (which I’m told it is). We can switch to the new localwiki software on our own server, and apply updates to it. The difference is we’d have to do it ourselves instead of the LocalWiki folks doing it for us on their server. -gene
        • That doesn’t sound too difficult … updates through the server providers I have worked with in the past have always gone smoothly. That being said, when is the decision to stay and update ourselves vs. merging going to be made, and by whom? Vote below~ JL
  • If we are voting my preference would be to keep Oakland Wiki as a stand alone … Gene makes an excellent point that using the LocalWiki software is very feasible, just as WordPress is used to run many blogs. And as far as SEO, if you Google MANY of our pages, Oakland Wiki shows up in the first one or two choices because our content is so unique! Is there is an option for keeping Oakland Wiki as a stand alone, but also including all the information on an “Oakland” subsection of ~ JL
    • here is what the thought was on the SEO- it would take a hit if we transferred to localwiki if it wasn’t done properly, but seems easy enough to do: “preserve the current URLs and map them to the new URL with 301 Redirect. This is what Google recommends when switching domains and can help preserve some of your current search engine standing.” -gk
  • This is HiMY. Currently in Toronto. When I was visiting Family in the South and East Bay, I invested quite a bit of time in editing, contributing, and trying to understand OaklandWiki and why it was working. I will make people unhappy with the following points of view, nevertheless, here there are…
    • Against my wishes, but because I did NOT reply back fast enough to Philip (hence it was my fault, or perhaps Half-Fault), (which I founded in 2006) migrated to LocalWiki.tld/city-name. And I am unhappy. If the same were to happen to, I would be unhappy again. But moreso.
    • In my gut, and in my heart, it felt like a take over or a take away. is dead. It no longer exists. It is now a collection of webpages on some other website collecting webpages about cities that have little or nothing to do with Toronto.
    • Imagine if Oakland was FORCED to become part of some non-entity called “Bay Area City”, your Oakland identity would be reduced, and no longer with its own city administration and jurisdiction, will eventually disappear.
    • Losing as a stand alone URL is analogous to Oakland as a City being absorbed into Alameda County at the very least.
    • OaklandWiki.ORG being reduced to a URL-Shortener, is akin to an old faded legacy municipal boundary sign, identifying the old Brooklyn before it was annexed/absorbed (eventually) into Oakland itself.
    • This is a question about Identity. has an Identity as Unique and Wonderful as Oakland itself. Toronto has lost that. OaklandWiki.ORG still has time to save itself.
    • Lastly, I have near-zero motivation to update any Toronto content on LocalWiki, Because it is no longer, it is now something else.
      • I strongly second EVERY point HiMY made above!! Over the past few days I find myself sadden that Oakland Wiki might merge as a tiny cog into a giant wheel, and until there is some decision posted as to what has been decided, I have close to zero motivation to continue updating on Oakland Wiki, if all my efforts will just be lost in some great maze. ~ JL

Philip’s comments

Hey all, sorry for taking so long to jump in here. There’s a few misconceptions on this page, so I hope I can clear some stuff up.

tl;dr: Don’t panic!

First, some specifics on Himy’s comments:

We (the LocalWiki non-profit) have been running and maintaining the Toronto LocalWiki for more than 7 years, all for no cost and with no ads. It has gone through many incarnations— first as “”, then with a custom domain “,” then switching to “” During 6 of these 7 years, the Toronto project was a part of our (now long since unmaintained) service, which provided a roughly uniform look and feel to all projects. There were serious problems with the “” approach, which we took way back in 2007 and worked on occasionally as overworked volunteers.

We emailed Himy many times over the course of the past 7 months and didn’t hear back from him. We needed to move the Toronto project over, as it was running on an old, unpatched server; running out of date software; and running on a server we needed to shut down. Not having heard from Himy, we migrated the data to the new LocalWiki and kept Himy in the loop.

Unfortunately, Himy was unsettled by this. I’m upset by the way things panned out in this case, but we didn’t really have any other option at the time. I also recognize that we cannot make everyone 100% happy and also make important progress. Himy and I have been corresponding back and forth via email ever since. There’s more points in Himy’s reply here that I’d like to address, but a couple of other quick notes:

Under the old LocalWiki approach, Toronto project never achieved a critical mass. It saw only a handful of edits a month for years and years, and barely a hundred visitors a month (at most) over this seven-year period. I’ll talk about this problem more later, but I wanted to mention it as an example of the inherent flaws in the old LocalWiki approach, many of which we began to discover and examine over the past several years.

Over the past several months we’ve worked with over 100 different LocalWiki communities, one-on-one, to explain our new approach, to loop people in, and to migrate data over to the new platform. We could have easily skipped this messy human step and simply used the Creative Commons license and migrated data, but we felt that it was important to work with different communities, one-on-one, and make necessary changes from community feedback as we went; to get people to understand that, in addition to working on a project for their own community, that they were also part of a larger, open and collective movement around local knowledge.

Out of all of these hundreds of individuals, Himy is the only person I know of who felt burned here. And that sucks, because we’ve been working so hard to do this right, but like I said— I’m not sure there was much of an alternative. That doesn’t mean he was the only person with questions and concerns, because we all did and do. But in the end, this is ultimately about trust— and what we intend to do is to work together, collectively, and figure these questions out. And, as is often unfortunately the case, it’s hard to make essential change without some people being upset.

And the reality is, what we were doing before— the old LocalWiki approach which had been roughly static since inception in Davis in 2004, just was not leading to the kind of widespread community impact we really wanted it to. At all. And it pained me to no end to admit this, but it was reality. Some people found some personal joy in maintaining a small project, but there was no impact beyond that, no scaling, and no hope of sustaining and growing. Oakland was pretty much the only project to pop up in the past two years with moderate uptake, and even in Oakland the project barely scratches the surface of its potential.

There were deeper issues with the old approach. Issues of geographic subdivision and relation, which is particularly important for communities like Oakland. It was unrealistic to expect there to be “,” “,” “,” “,” “,” “,” “,” “,” “, .. And so on. And it wasn’t just the plethora of possible domain names, but the overhead in terms of communication, in terms of collective organizing, in terms of server maintenance and upkeep, in terms of figuring out how and who was in ultimate charge of these different projects (the person who starts it and sets it up on a server?), in terms of legal issues, in terms of fundraising.. And the list goes on. There were problems with discovering new projects, problems with branding and identity, problems with how a long-term mobile approach could work, problems with people randomly turning off their servers and losing all their data, problems figuring out how connection with other open platforms like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap could work, problems starting new projects without technical know-how, crippling search engine ranking problems with everyone-on-own-domain (particularly with new projects, who are more or less doomed for several years), problems surrounding perception of success and the atomic unit of what a project “is,” and much more.

And what we’re doing right now doesn’t fix all of these problems all at once, of course. But we’re going to do the absolute best we can to make sure we have the best possible chance of building something, together, that can make meaningful impact in as many communities as possible. And, relative to what we were doing before, this means we have to make a couple of changes.

I think most of the questions here are around branding and the site domain name? With respect to branding, as I think I mentioned on the list, we really want to experiment with this. We can add in custom logos, custom banners, custom fav icons, experiment with custom domain names, etc. We just want to test things out without them for a bit to see how things work, because we think it’s important to test our assumptions on this stuff.

Nothing is set in stone here, and what we’re doing — and what we’re going to keep doing — is work with people to figure out the absolute best possible way to make the most projects succeed as deeply and widely as possible. If what we’re doing isn’t working, we’ll change. There’s a lot of possibilities here. As an example of just how many different possibilities there are here, in Seattle, Seth has been using the Seattle LocalWiki as a backend to the lightweight website. The site has its own URLs, but it pulls data from the underlying LocalWiki API (where editing takes place). Here’s an example page.

The gameplan:

So, right now, here’s our working plan:

  • We’re hard at work on shipping the first real version of the new LocalWiki. It’s rough, and we’re going to be working hard over the next few weeks to polish it up and get it ready. In between our normal planned work, we’ll see if we can experiment with custom logos, banners, domain names, etc. It’s entirely possible this will be something that happens post-launch, though, because we’re a tiny non-profit and UI changes touch a lot of different things (e.g. responsive design). It’s also possible that, after we try it out, nobody will really care and we won’t implement this stuff.
  • Some time before the new LocalWiki launch date or shortly thereafter, we plan on migrating Oakland to the new LocalWiki platform. We want to make sure that we address some of these questions and concerns, though, so we’ll keep at it here and in-person, figuring out what we really need to move forward. We can experiment with e.g. setting up custom domain names, but there’s other major concerns here: cookies prevent cross-domain log in; SSL certs need to be purchased for each domain (and each wildcard sub-domain); and search engine ranking is a big problem (which is a huge motivation for us pooling domain names together). I think it’d be best to experiment with e.g. a custom logo and banner before experimenting with a custom domain name, because this is what other global/local online communities do (if they allow any customization at all, e.g. reddit).


  • Regarding local identity, feared homogeneity, and branding: there’s a lot of questions we have to figure out, together, here. We’ve already started hashing some of this out, and our intention — and I’m absolutely confident we can figure out together — is to build a platform where groups, working together in their local community, decide what should and should not belong on the LocalWiki for their community. I know I linked this in a previous thread, but here’s some of the rough ideas folks have been playing around with in terms of local editorial autonomy:


  • Branding, logo, domain, etc: we are going to experiment with this and, if it’s not working, implement them one-by-one. This means that, if people aren’t happy, the new Oakland LocalWiki will be practically exactly the same as it is right now — with a logo, a custom banner, and a custom domain name. But we need room to experiment, and there may be some lag time here.


I know this page is all over the place, but I hope this helps to clear up some of these questions here.


One big question from JL that is still unanswered: is this a done deal?

Keep in mind that many regular Oakland Wiki contributors only found out about this 2 weeks ago when eekiv started a page about it.

I’ve tried to edit the page here to be more clear. Based on this discussion & feedback, we will be keeping the domain name (not as just a redirect) and we’ll keep the logo in place somehow. Not sure how it’ll look visually yet, though. As far as migration plan goes, we do plan to migrate Oakland, but we are serious about making sure we address concerns here — which is why we’ll be figuring out how to make the domain and logo jive. -philip

@philip - Thanks for listening. Allowing for a custom logo will go a long way towards keeping the local feel. (A custom banner for the landing page isn’t really much, because with search, every page is a landing page.) Personally I’m less concerned about the domain if it were kept as a redirect, but I won’t complain if we get to keep it basically as-is, too. Oakland has a civic pride like no where else I’ve lived in the world, which I think is a big part of why the Oakland Wiki has gotten better traction here than some other places. Recognizing that pride and independence is important. -Gene

philip- thank you for giving another perspective on the torontowiki situation and i’m really sorry that this left both parties so unhappy. i’d like to add in my thoughts here as himy did articulate some things that i’ve been thinking, and i also understand a lot of what you said. (also long!)

  • i do feel a little like this conversation, which started in email but has migrated here (which is good), is a bit frustrating. i’ve felt pretty ambivalent about switching platforms since i heard about it months ago- not neutral but ambivalent- and i have raised, as have others, the question of “is this already a done deal?” which has never quite been answered. several have suggested workarounds but we never quite got an answer of whether that was feasible or “allowable” from the LW side. the financial costs of keeping OW separate (domain, server, etc) would certainly have been covered (i would have done it, if that was an issue), and it sounds like the technical issues were resolvable, but that’s not my thing. Himy used the language “forced” which i don’t think is the case, but i do feel like the potential hard feelings at OW stem from this gap in communication: if the LW plans all along were to migrate OW, that should just have been stated unequivocally. then we could have discussed what we would like to see remain/what was really important to us. as it is, it leaves me (and i’m guessing others) feel unheard. again, i’m not sure if the question was decided ahead of time, but it is starting to sound like it, and we never really got a straight answer.
  • i really see the benefits of LW in terms of working cross/inter-community, and totally agree there is tons of untapped potential there. here comes my BUT! oakland is different! :) (philip- i think you mentioned 100+ communities that are like, local, cool! but i really do think oakland is different!) I think a lot of us that live in oakland have a LOT of oakland pride slash snobbery and feel little or no affiliation with alameda/berkeley/etc. this is probably not fair, nor does it represent all oaklanders or contributors to oaklandwiki, but i am guessing it’s part of the reluctance to be “LW” not “OW.” there’s a reason we have editathons and 8bajillion pages and 6bajillion users. we hella heart oakland! that said, i also love the features that can come with OW and the ability to contribute to LWs easily when i see something cool somewhere else, especially mobily. I’m in atlanta right now and saw a store that sells growlers. i really wish i could have easily put that into LW- if i was used to the change, i probably would have!
  • thanks for listening to the concerns here. i’m not sure that it’s accurate to say that no one else has concerns except himy- it’s not easy to track who has stopped lurking RC or editing (nonusers) or those who don’t speak up. it’s also it’s also true that change is hard and most likely, most of us will get used to it :)

2014-06-26: a ghost here … realizing this is very late and probably all decided already … but with all due respect to everyone’s feelings (especially HiMY and JL) … many times on OW, I’ve run into what seemed like arbitrary content restrictions, caused by the (human-made!) geographic border around the place. I think the main reason for limiting scope to Oakland topics should be not only physical containment (and because it makes sense to within an eponymous wiki), but because otherwise, focus might quickly be lost and things devolve out of hand. However, in fairness, much as we all like Oakland, it’s not exactly an island. There is much carryover with surrounding communities, historically, culturally and especially with natural stuff like wildlife, plants etc. In short, while I agree with the claims about OW’s specialness, I feel that’s mainly a state of mind: it is real, yes, but no, it probably makes very little to no difference on what server OW’s files actually live. Those who care about The O will still focus on it (at least, provided UI changes don’t become generic enough to drive people away – which probably goes for all LW communities). Plus, even if they don’t realize it, everyone wants the latest bugfixes! To me, this all seems curiously like a non-issue: the map is not the territory … or maybe it's just the drugs talking …