Mike Dickison at the Museum started up a monthly ‘Wiki Wednesday’ group in August. He did it partially because of his own interest in digital projects but also because of the need to get information about Wanganui out there on the net. To those who might be scornful of Wikipedia he responds that “it is the number one source of information for most people.” It comes out at the top of most Google searches. His motto is – “you can’t ignore it – work to improve it.”
Mike was surprised by how little there is about Wanganui on Wikipedia. Even the museum and the Sarjeant do not get a mention. So the participants in Wiki Wednesday have started to redress the situation adding information to Pakaitore and creating a site on Mayor Charles Mackay.
Mike teaches them the basics and all writing is based on published research. It can be done from home and behind the scenes there is a discussion or talk page. If an article is ‘vandalised’ it is likely to be fixed within minutes, says Mike.
Recently Mike gave a hands-on Wikipedia editing class at the National Digital Forum in Wellington and the idea of Wiki Wednesday is likely to be duplicated around New Zealand. In the short term Mike would like to see it as part of Wanganui’s tourism strategy.
You can’t create a Wiki page about your own institution as you will be suspected of bias and it will most likely be changed anyway, as you have no ownership of any wiki site.
If you are interested in getting involved – and you don’t need to be an expert in anything in particular – pencil in Wednesday, February 4 at the public library at 6.30pm. You will be welcomed, have everything explained and be given a cup of coffee – all at the same time.