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Monday, July 2, 2012

SF Wiki Project Lets Locals Document San Francisco

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2012 at 4:38 PM

click to enlarge san_francisco1.jpg

There are many outlets to find information about what's happening in the various neighborhoods and communities in San Francisco. Some might argue, too many. It can be a full-time job just figuring out what's happening where and which events you should mark down in your calendar. 

The executive director of the Local Wiki Project nonprofit, Philip Neustrom, hopes to consolidate information with the new SF Wiki. It's one of many local wiki sites that has blossomed with assistance around the country and across the globe. The philosophy lies in the beauty of open-source projects and their autonomy. Local residents are the experts on their hoods, therefore, they ought to be the ones disseminating information. 

The success of this practice is evident when you look at endeavors such as Craigslist, Yelp, and local blogs. But still, Neustrom argues, there's something missing from this collection.

"We have lots of great local blogs, but they're not all collected in one spot," he says. "We don't have a lot of information about little neighborhoods and every community should have the ability to share facets of their neighborhood."

SF Wiki is based on the Davis Wiki, which Neustrom started with Mike Ivanov. Calling the Davis project a huge success, Neustrom says the page has become the largest media source in the community. Of the 60,000 Davis residents, 15,000 have contributed posts and added information to the site.

The same can happen in San Francisco and Neustrom is obviously excited about it. Thanks to a grant from the Knight Foundation, his nonprofit is able to advise local wiki projects all over the country. But Neustrom has been living in the city for the last five years and is clearly invested in duplicating his success in Davis.

SF Wiki is fully operational, and more than 150 people have already contributed in the last three months. Soon, there will be an official launch party. But until then, you can join in the experience by participating in meetup groups that document different sections of the city -- taking photos of all the parklets, for example.

"People should go on there and add anything they want," Neustrom says.

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Laura Rena Murray


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