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Wikiwrimo has finally grown up

Soon after the new NaNoWriMo site launched last night, I found myself on there, refreshing intermittently while doing other things.

A proper review of the site is in the works for the next day or two. I have to give the new site time to get some of the old features back.

But there’s one very big thing from the relaunch.

Wikiwrimo is the very first site featured in the Procrastination Station… meaning it’s on the front page of NaNoWriMo right now.

Oh. My. Baty. Threads I’ve started have been featured there, but never a website I built. Then again, Wikiwrimo is the first NaNo-related site I’ve built. Still, seeing it on the front page of NaNo is ridiculously awesome. I BUILT that site, after all. My Wikiwrimo is all grown up.

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Wikiwrimo is more open than ever

I love being a geek, but there’s one problem with it. The problem is that I’m up at 3am because I was fixing geeky things. Here the geeky things were things on the Wikiwrimo site, hammering them into shape before Nano season really gets going. This is particularly important as one huge feature has been broken for months and I never noticed. Oops.

Which brings me to the big thing. You can now just sign up and edit! Just create an account and start editing the wiki. We’ll see how much spam the site gets as a result, but I do have a few measures in place to prevent some of it with more ideas in case the spam gets bad. The big weapons haven’t been brought out yet.

So get to editing! And especially find your region and write about it. I can’t write about all the regions, and you know yours better than I do. Even a few sentences are better than nothing; those few sentences can encourage more folks to edit the page to a great article. So what are you waiting for…inspiration?

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Introducing the Wikiwrimo regional directory

I hinted at this on Twitter over the past week or so, but it’s finally ready: the Great Wikiwrimo Regional Directory.

What is this, you ask? Wikiwrimo’s mission is to archive the history and culture of NaNoWriMo because so much of that gets wiped with the forum wipe every year. But there’s so much culture in each NaNo region, and there’s not much of a place in the main wiki to put all those regions. Sure, I could make a page for each region, but that’s a lot of regions, and consistency in region formatting in the article names could be an issue. So I sat down and figured out a way to make contributing a region to Wikiwrimo easy and finally came up with the current structure.

Here’s how it works. Visit the main region article, and navigate to your region. If you live in the United States, it may be, for example, United States::Georgia::Atlanta, so you’d click on the United States page, then the Georgia page, and then click the red Atlanta link and start editing. International regions require fewer clicks because there are fewer regions.

Just one thing: Not all the Elsewhere:: regions are up yet, partially because I’m hoping there will be some regional reorganization come October when the site relaunches. Mexico, Israel, Central and South America, Russia, I’m looking at you in particular. If you live in a part of the world whose region you can’t find and you want to create it (or you just want to create it), then use your own good judgment. Redirects can happen later.

You should request an account before editing, of course. It would also be a good idea to look through the Wikiwrimo guide to editing for some tips, particularly the section on regional pages.

Happy editing!

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Happy birthday, Wikiwrimo

Somewhere between a year and a half and two years ago the idea of a NaNoWriMo wiki popped into my mind. I thought of all the newbies who had questions about NaNo that didn’t show up in the FAQ and the things that only Wrimos would know about and thought of how great it would be if there were a place where all these questions would be answered. At the time I was still struggling to figure out WordPress, so I thought running a wiki that someone else would be using would be outside my skill set, even though I had plenty of time on my hands to launch the thing.

So I put it off. And put it off. And put it off some more.

Around June last year I told myself, “You know what? No one else is going to do this, even though I’ve already voiced my desire to build such a thing.” So I set aside a weekend to figure out MediaWiki and what I’d need to know to get started and got to work on what is now Wikiwrimo. MediaWiki turned out to be much easier to configure than I thought thanks to all the documentation out there; for comparison purposes, I broke WordPress more often than MediaWiki, and I broke MediaWiki in a more than minor way only once.

Right now Wikiwrimo stands at 676 total pages, which includes uploaded files, talk pages, and redirects. That number will likely go significantly up before NaNo season gets here because of some big projects I have up my sleeve. Wikiwrimo’s pages have been viewed 106,543 times in the past year and edited 1,715 times. According to Google Analytics, traffic is up almost 90% over the past month, something I can thank Camp NaNoWriMo for if the searches that bring visitors to Wikiwrimo are any indicator.

What’s coming up for Wikiwrimo? Lots of things! I can think of lots of pages off the top of my head that aren’t complete or may never be complete. (Lists, I’m looking at you.) Then there’s the very long list of wanted articles that still needs to be written, along with at least one huge project up my sleeve whose implementation I hope to have figured out and ready for human editing by NaNo season.

Here’s to another year of Wikiwrimo!

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Wikiwrimo press?

Day Two word count: 25,157 words.

Things of note: I am currently on page six of the NaNoWriMo author word count list. That is, if you search for all the authors and sort by word count, I’m currently on page six. This won’t last for long, though, so I need to get myself in gear to maintain this, or better yet, write my way to page five.

But today I’m here to talk about Wikiwrimo. Over the past month there have been several spikes of activity, mostly when the URL appeared on NaNo’s Twitter stream (which has happened three times), the NaNoWordSprints Twitter account (quite a few times for the word war article), and the first page of a forum post that was featured in the Procrastination Station.

That was nothing compared to the spike on October thirty-first. The NaNoWriMo website was slow and continued to be slow over the next two days thanks to being featured everywhere on the Internet, including being the number one trending topic on Twitter. I tweeted about Wikiwrimo asking what needed to be there, the fine folks at NaNo retweeted it, and the spike in my site stats that resulted makes the rest of the month look empty in comparison. Okay, there’s a small spike, but it looks so lonely.

Wikiwrimo’s existence is starting to get recognized, though. A bitter author for the Salon wrote an anti-NaNoWriMo article arguing that people shouldn’t do NaNoWriMo because there need to be more readers out there. She fails to see that the intersection of the group of readers and the group of writers is nonempty; that is, there are people who are readers and writers. In fact, the threads on the forums about books are extremely popular. But this part stuck out:

In that spirit, NaNoWriMo has spawned countless tutorials, tip lists, FAQs, wikis and Twitter feeds, all designed to cheer the contestants on to their own personal finish line.

If you read that sentence carefully you’d notice the mention of a wiki. If she did her research for this article, she’d know that NaNoWriMo did in fact inspire a wiki. Even if I disagree with just about everything in this article, I’m amused at the mention of a wiki in it, even if it’s not linked. Maybe people will start looking for it.

The second part of Wikiwrimo press comes from an article I was quoted in. North Carolina State University’s Technician featured an article on NaNo, and a friend who attends passed along an email requesting a quote to me. Yes, that article has my real name in it. Yes, I am amused at being the community manager at Wikiwrimo because that’s actually a non-writing dream job of mine. Of course, I could call myself anything at Wikiwrimo: founder, administrator, tech person, grand poobah, and it’d all be true. I couldn’t call myself a dictator, though. Wikiwrimo is anything but a dictatorship despite any executive decisions I make.

This means it’s time to make a Wikiwrimo press page, known as “sites besides NaNoWriMo that acknowledge Wikiwrimo’s existence.”