On Wed, Mar 29, 2006 at 05:25:33PM +0100, M.B.Gaved wrote:
Here's my response for the Open Guide to Manchester
A. Your Open Guide
1. How would you describe the Open Guide you work on to somebody who
wanted to find out about it?
To quote from http://manchester.openguides.org/
This site is part of the OpenGuides network of city guides, and exists
to provide a living guide to Manchester, contributed and updated by
the people who spend time here. We're independent and non-corporate,
and exist to provide a comprehensive guide to the Manchester we know
2. Who is the anticipated audience for your Open
Guide? Who are your
users right now?
I don't really have an anticipated audience. Content goes on the guide,
and people access it, currently mostly through Google searches.
Occasionally, people contribute to it. I don't really know who these
people are other than traces in my Apache weblogs. I'm hoping over time
that more people will subscribe to the ogm-discuss mailing list and we
can get more of a coherent community going.
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
When I'm looking up information and find a city guide, I'm often
frustrated by the adverts, the poor navigability, and the content.
Entries rarely link to each other, and are rarely organised neatly. The
content is often out of date or biased, and there's no way to correct
I think my Open Guide is easier to navigate, and easier to contribute
to. The lack of adverts and clear (if unpolished) design help with this.
4. Are there rules and regulations users must follow?
How about your
admin team (e.g. how do you make decisions)?
There aren't many particular rules, other than those governing the
licensing of content. Ther's a house style which helps keep things
consistent. The only real "admin" work I do is deleting spam.
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 was involved with the Open Guide to Oxford through moving in the same
social circles as the admins. When I moved to Manchester, I was invited
to take over administration of the Open Guide to Manchester by one of
the people responsible for its hosting.
As admin, I am responsible for keeping the guide free of spam. As a
user, I contribute new content and modify existing and contributed
content to keep the guide as smooth and usable as possible.
2. What was your goal when your Open Guide (or your
involvement in it)
started? What are the current goals?
My goal was and still is to increase people's awareness of my Guide
until it becomes a regular source of information for people. This will
be done by promotion, content and grass-roots awareness.
3. How long do you see yourself being involved in your
I don't see any finite stopping point. If it were to become too much
hassle, it'd presumably be busy enough that I could recruit a
replacement or supplemental admin to help me.
4. Have people used the Guide in any ways you
didn't expect? (and has
'vandalism' been a problem?)
I've had content added about things in Manchester of which I was not
previously aware, which is good. There has recently been a minor spate
of wikispam on many OpenGuides, which is a minor problem.
C. Publicity and outreach
1. Do you publicise your Guide? How?
At the moment, I only publicise my guide by linking to it from my blog,
and from the Manchester community on LiveJournal in response to
In future (specifically once OpenGuides supports OpenID) I'll promote
the Guide more heavily on LiveJournal and other Manchester-related sites
and mailing lists. I have a plan to flyer physical locations,
particularly those which are already in the Guide.
D. Future of the Guide
1. How successful do you think the project is? Which goals have been
met? Which remain elusive?
I do not feel that my Guide is very successful yet, measured in terms of
traffic received. Once it is getting more hits from users than search
engine crawlers, I'll be happy. Once I start getting more regular
contributors (particularly those who aren't OpenGuides devs), I'll be
2. How long do you see the project going on for?
As long as the Guide is useful, which is a function of how frequently
it's kept up to date. I don't see a finite end point, though I can
imagine a situation where it fizzles out due to lack of interest.
3. If someone told you they were planning to start an
Open Guide, what
advice would you give them?
Try to make your site as usable as possible. Get non-geek friends to
proofread the meta pages and see if they can make sense of it.
Reasonable layout and photos both make a site more inviting.
Dave Page <grimoire(a)sparky.ox.compsoc.net>