: The Wall Street Journal writes up Jimmy Wales’ Wikicities business (another free link). It’s just starting so it’s hard to tell whether this will work as well as Wikipedia. I think that wikis work best when they try to gather the ongoing wisdom of the crowds on lasting topics; they work when they hit a critical mass of interest, people, contributions, and time. That’s why I remain dubious that Wikinews will work; it’s too transient: By the time enough people swarm around a topic to add their collective wisdom, the world has moved on. Wikipedia did, in fact, do a good job collecting news during the tsunami, but that had enough interest, people, and time to make it work. WikiCities is a third model: A portal where people can create free, ad-supported special-interest wikis. On the one hand, I wonder whether people won’t just do that on their own sites, in their own communities. On the other hand, perhaps special-interest wikis need a portal to gather that critical mass of contributors. We’ll see…

  • Derek

    Seems to me that one of the more under-utilized functions of blogs is the local blog—a blog writ small. I live in Ann Arbor, MI. A local blog of events, politics, and news, etc., with reader reviews and reporting, would be a great service and widely read in a blog-friendly town like this. Certainly less centralized an approach than wiki….
    But how does a local blog get attention and recognition in the wider, louder blogoshpere? Certainly word-of-mouth. But a portal for local blogs with links would be more effective. Suggestions?

  • Alan Kellogg

    I can see the advantages. Central location, easy set-up, publicity by association. People come to the Wikicity site and find your neighborhood by looking around. It’s more likely people are going to find a community site like Wikicity through a search than they are somebody’s private wiki.
    Then you have the matter of installation and set-up. At Wikicity all that’s done for you. At your site you get to do the work. Even if the script is pre-installed there is still the matter of set-up. And people who write and use wiki apps are not real good at documentation or user interface. The assumption is only tech geeks would be interested in having a wiki, which shapes how information on using a wiki is presented. Thus interest in wikis is limited and many who would otherwise have a wiki are driven away. So, I can see where a more user friendly wiki venue could work.
    This does lead to the question of why some script monkeys are so dang elitists and exclusionary, but that’s beyond the scope of this posting and thread. (Not that that is going to stop some people. :) )