Phillip Smith

Wiki roundup: Great examples of user-generated content

The Davis Wiki front page

It's no secret that the software known as a Wiki has managed to change the world. The obvious examples like Wikipedia have shown that it is possible to hand over editing power to distributed teams of researchers, editors, and "gardeners" -- but can any organization leverage this approach? Maybe.

Many of the organizations that I work with have asked about the potential of using a Wiki as part of their technology strategy, and eventually they ask for some good examples -- not quite at the Wikipedia scale -- that they can use to sell the idea to their co-workers. So, having answered that question a few times now, I thought I'd just do a short run-down here and -- hopefully -- keep it updated (with your help!).

Keep in mind, these examples (and the ones I'm interested in) focus on: positive social impact, non-commercial activities, community engagement, a user-friendly interface, and a critical mass of entries.

So, here we go:

  • SourceWatch: A collaborative project of the Center for Media and Democracy to produce a directory of the people, organizations and issues shaping the public agenda.

  • Congresspedia: The "citizen's encyclopedia on Congress" that anyone can edit. Another project by the fine folks at the Center for Media and Democracy.

  • A Wiki for Legislation and Issues of the Day.

  • Debatepedia: Debatepedia is the new free wiki encyclopedia of arguments and debates.

  • DavisWiki: The definitive resource for Davis, California. (One of my favourite examples of a hyper-local city wiki!)

  • Rochester Wiki: The People's guide to Rochester, NY.

  • Transition Towns: The aim of the site is to be a focal point for all towns, villages, cities and localities around the world that are self-organising for an energy-lean future.

  • WikiCancer: A place for people with a connection to cancer to share real-life experiences -- fears, insights, stories and advice

And, just for fun, you should probably check out Wookieepedia -- The Star Wars encyclopedia that anyone can edit.. If you're interested in the software itself, there's a good list of Wiki software found on the Wiki Matrix.

Have other great examples? Please pop them in the comments.

UPDATE: I'll be doing a follow-up on event-specific Wiki examples next week.


Hi, I'm Phillip Smith, a veteran digital publishing consultant, online advocacy specialist, and strategic convener. If you enjoyed reading this, find me on Twitter and I'll keep you updated.


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