I'm following Dom's lead.
> A. Your Open Guide
> 1. How would you describe the Open Guide you work on to somebody who
> wanted to find out about it?
Hmm I was at a dinner party and I think I described it like, The Guide is
a website about Saint Paul (now the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St.
Paul really) that anybody can edit. I started it as a way to keep track of
things I've found in St. Paul, but now I'm using it to discover things in
the Twin Cities.
> 2. Who is the anticipated audience for your Open
Guide? Who are your
> users right now?
Ultimately I'd like to see it as an alternative venue for people who live
in the Cities to comment freely about them. I'll explain further below,
but I originally planned (and still do plan) on starting an OpenGuide to
Orlando to balance the crass consumer guides that exist out there. When I
moved to St. Paul I decided to do something similar to track the places I
> 3. What do you see as the purpose of the open
guides? (feel free to get
> philosophical!) e.g. how is it different from other wikis/city guides?
Well it's different from other wikis in that it's a city guide, and it's
different from other city guides in that it's a Wiki! Seriously though,
the software is better organized for the purposes of being a City oriented
wiki than other platforms, especially with crschmidt's google map hacks.
For example anymore I find it faster these days if I know something is in
the guide and I need say a phone number or website ... I search the guide
first, then fall back to Google (usually to add it to the guide so next
time I get it in the first try :D).
Saint Paul is small, and doesn't have a very large user base (yet). It'll
gain more purpose as we grow. But the fact that it's relatively easy to
edit, amazingly easy to add pages to, and even (mostly) blank pages have
some utility (all you need is an address/long+lat and you get a map) I
think is thrilling. In the US copyright laws are such that I can add
address book type information, and with the geocoder.us website I've
quickly populated the guide with lots of (mostly) empty pages. I now use
the guide to find new restaurants, or places to visit.
> 4. Are there rules and regulations users must
follow? How about your
> admin team (e.g. how do you make decisions)?
I am my admin team. I play it by ear, and try to follow the examples set
by the london, oxford and boston guides. I figure people with users must
be doing something right.
> B. Your role in the Open Guide
> 1. How did you come to be involved in the Open Guide?- can you tell us
> what you do?
I listened to Earle give a speech at YAPC::EU 2003 and it played right
into plans that my wife and I had had about starting a Guide Book to
Orlando when we moved home. Turns out we didn't exactly move home, but I
still started a Guide. Mostly for my own benefit.
I run the Twin Cities (St. Paul) guide, and do server maintenance for both
, and eventually I'll
> 2. What was your goal when your Open Guide (or
your involvement in it)
> started? What are the current goals?
My goal was to start something I found useful. My goal now is to create
something others find useful and want to contribute to as well.
> 3. How long do you see yourself being involved in
Well we plan on living in the Twin Cities for another 7 years. I hope by
then I can find someone to give regular administration duties over to, and
I can start/build/work with the Orlando guide.
> 4. Have people used the Guide in any ways you
didn't expect? (and has
> 'vandalism' been a problem?)
Vandalism is my biggest problem. There's only me, and I'm horribly busy,
so I'm not as fastidious as some about checking the spam on my Guides.
Orlando finally succumbed to a level of spam from which I didn't want to
try to revert. Do subscribe to your guide, or at least check the recent
changes page regularly (thrice weekly?).
I've had exactly 4 people other than myself that I know of edit the guide.
Nobody is using it in a way I haven't expected yet. I'm trying hard to get
it to that point. The minute someone says "oh hey did you see|try|do this
with the Guide" and they're talking about SaintPaul ... I'll know I've
> C. Publicity and outreach
> 1. Do you publicise your Guide? How?
This is probably why I have no users :) I haven't attempted to publicise
the guide at all yet. I've mentioned it in passing to a few friends. I've
populated it with stuff that 's getting fairly decent hits on Google. I'm
gonna try to add a lot of useful content when I can ...
> D. Future of the Guide
> 1. How successful do you think the project is? Which goals have been
> met? Which remain elusive?
Two years ago when I started my guide, I was the first non UK. We've come
*along* way since then. We now have three US guides (as of today!), one
Canadian Guide, and 13 (!!) UK guides. We've come along way baby.
> 2. How long do you see the project going on for?
As long as people are still interested, I see it lasting for a very long
> 3. If someone told you they were planning to start
an Open Guide, what
> advice would you give them?
Make sure you're willing to commit to it. The more you put into it the
more you'll get out of it. Don't do it alone. Find friends, get them to
add content. If you're in the US, find a source for raw address data ...
and use geocoder.us to convert that to Long+Lat to bootstrap your guide.
Then fill in the blank pages. Don't make it stop being fun. Hang out on
#openguides on irc.perl.org
and mooch off the prodigiousness of others.