Seattle already has a lot of media organizations, a lot of blogs, and even an existing wiki-building community. So why do we need SeattleWiki.net?
This page helps define the role of SeattleWiki.
Why does Seattle need a wiki?
A local wiki that is personal and community-authored can provide needed depth and context to a city's media landscape. An active local wiki acts as a resource supported and used by any area individuals and media organizations. SeattleWiki can augment the resources currently available, serve as glue between disparate sources of information, and help build a community of citizen journalists through meetups and other events.
Building a wiki is also fun – it's a great way to learn about a community.
Why SeattleWiki and not just use Wikipedia?
We can use both! Wikipedia is designed for content that is important globally. There is a lot of local content that most likely won’t make the cut on Wikipedia. That’s why local wikis are needed.
Particular Wikipedia policies that tend to exclude the type of content we’re looking for on a local wiki like SeattleWiki:
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, SeattleWiki is envisioned more as a personal, inside look at a city. That means we want to document things like personal experiences and information gathered first-hand.
But wait, there’s already a lot of content on Wikipedia about places, people, and issues in Seattle, what about that stuff?
It’s great! Seattle is a big city, and there’s a lot in it that has global importance. But there are a lot of things that aren’t on Wikipedia that need an encyclopedic home elsewhere.
Check out Wikipedia's University District page. It’s great as content that has global importance. Anyone from anywhere that needs a brief introduction to the neighborhood can get it. But it isn’t very useful to residents. There could be a whole wiki just devoted to The Ave. There are all kinds of personal stories, nooks and crannies, important issues, and weird events that happen in just the University District to make for hundreds of wiki pages. That stuff would just fit better in a locally-focused wiki.
Why a new wiki and not just use seattle.wikia.com?
This one is a little more difficult. The Seattle wiki on wikia.com has over 600 pages and is occasionally updated. The biggest problem with it: it's wikia.com.
Wikia has a lot of ads and the design isn't great. There are a number of features and design elements that clutter the pages and distract from the wiki content.
SeattleWiki.net is built with LocalWiki, an open-source project started by some of the founders of the super-awesome DavisWiki, one of the most successful city-focused wikis.
LocalWiki's mapping system is one of the best reasons to use it for a locally-focused wiki. It's really easy to map the location of something. LocalWiki has a great api that can easily be used by other apps, the design is very nice, and the developers are hugely helpful to communities working on setting up a project with the LocalWiki software.
The best answer might be contacting the people that started and maintain seattle.wikia.com and finding out how we can work together. If the original authors become interested in transitioning over to using SeattleWiki.net, that could work out really well. The content on wikia.com is licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike, so there shouldn't be a problem with that solution.
But we definitely shouldn't just grab that content without talking with the people that maintain that wiki first.