What to do with a good old wiki resource?

Several years ago I launched a wiki for a desperate purpose.  Now I ponder its fate, and ask you, dear readers, for your thoughts. Consider this a case study in evolving social media.

Here’s the story.  Back in 2007 I traveled a great deal (and still do), which meant (and means) spending a lot of time in airports.  Among the many indignities airports inflict upon the suffering traveler is bad food, especially in the form of few and often lame restaurants.

Late one night, after a long trip and facing another delayed flight, I found myself within view of the melancholy House of Usher in front of a Portuguese restaurant.  It had good food, china service (!), and friendly waitstaff.  I couldn’t wait to share the news of this discovery.  But how?

A nice restaurant in the Newark airport

A very nice restaurant for the Newark airport. Sadly, it’s no longer there – the restaurant, not the airport.

A wiki was the logical choice.  That way I could add information incrementally, as I moved from airport to airport.  Better still, other people could join in, building up a collective wisdom of crowds.  I blogged about this idea on Infocult (ah, back in the day that was my general blog base) and received some support. And so it came to be, what is now the Restaurants in Airports Wiki.

Within a few days people added content (for example). Over the years the wiki grew further.  People contributed notes from airports around the world.  I edited in my own discoveries and uploaded the occasional photo.  People used this resource as they flew and hungered.

However, at some point interest flagged.  Well, my interest flagged.  I think it was partly because I kept flying the same airports (curse you, PHL!).  Partly because fewer comments came in.  Maybe because Twitter and Facebook took up some of our desire to jot down short observations from life.  And, to be honest, I lost track.  Brian Lamb chewed me out about this (but I can’t find the post now).  Content remained on the wiki, but some gradually outdated.

The late, lamented One Flight Up, a former jewel in the Burlington Airport's crown.

The late, lamented One Flight Up, a former jewel in the Burlington Airport’s crown.

Other things have happened.  Mobile services have taken up some of this need.  And, to be honest, the food situation has gotten marginally better in some places.

And yet the wiki continued to exist. It’s moved from host to host, and currently rests in my PBWorks domain.

So now it’s 2015 and I’d like to revisit this project.  I copied the wiki to a new location (http://bryanalexander.pbworks.com/w/page/92787006/Restaurants%20In%20Airports).I asked around social media for feedback.  People on Facebook and Google+ were positive, generally, although at least one commentator thought Yelp was doing a good job.

What should be done?  I see the following possibilities.

  1. Keep the wiki at its new location.  Update it and spread the word.
  2. Let it go.  The food in airports situation no longer calls for a wiki.
  3. Move the wiki to Google Docs, which is a more popular wiki platform and doesn’t require account creation for most people.
  4. Other.

I’m ready to do #1, and can easily do #3 with the miracle of copy and paste.

What do you think, gentle readers?

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8 Responses to What to do with a good old wiki resource?

  1. mikecaulfield says:

    We call this the Curse of the Sysop.

    I know people will be expecting me to suggest you make it a federated wiki, but in this case I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I imagine in many cases your editors will have just discovered your wiki that day — they are not going to set up a federated wiki account and learn how to navigate it in 5 minutes.

    I think it’s good for people to see wikis that aren’t Google Sites, as Google somewhat perverts the idea of a wiki. So I root for #1

    Yelp doesn’t really replace this IMHO. There’s a difference between recommendations and ratings.

  2. tellio says:

    Sounds very like a crowdsourcer to me. Kickstart an endowment for the site and then invite teams of publishers to apply to run it for six months.

  3. CogDog says:

    The starting point is what I’d call the (0.) on your possibility list- after asking for input do what best fills your interest needs; if the effort is not worthwhile to you, meaning the process feeds your soul,, do not bother.

    And I will add another suggestion- no matter which possibility plane you go, please DO NOT delete the original. Even if it is out of date, full of broken links, it is a snapshot of the time. I have been doing a heap of research on the web of 10, 15, 20 years ago, and the amount of wholesale nuclear destruction is sad. It as if no historians were ever on the web.

    Even though you may open it up for others to edit, my hunch and experience is more than 95% of the contributions will be yours. I suggest keep it as a wiki. I strongly suggest not relying on Yelp. I grow more and more weary about people mortgaging their ideas and thoughts and writing to places that are managed by third parties which do not care at all about a legacy of information (cough… Posterous. Reader. Helpouts.). Including Facebook, Google+. This is your creation, Bryan, and the stuff I most treasure on the web are the niche corners of interest managed by an individual, not corralled by a corporation. A wiki by Bryan Alexander will have all of the personality, gusto, of the friend I know.

    Google Docs is collaborative and has similar features, but is not a wiki. Not that a wiki is essential. But Google Docs are most web-like, but still a document. They have butt ugly URLs. Make it something that is native web in format, that is the most durable for long term.

    That’s funny Mike shot down a federated wiki, I might have suggested it. Actually the platform does not matter as much as that you manage it, you control the content, and it has its own unique Bryan-ness.

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