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WikiProject Oregon was interviewed for the Wikipedia Signpost this week.

Pete did a great job writing an introduction- enough so that Mabeenot elected to let it stand as the lede for the interview.

To me, the most interesting sections were discussions about how the formal Collaboration Of The Week have ended and what that means, collaboration with other projects (where Pete explains why we have strong ties to the state), and Aboutmovies discussing why we need cash.

Do you want to set up your own blog — or contribute to a group blog (like this one, perhaps) — but don’t know where to start? If you’re in Portland, there’s a free seminar this Saturday afternoon that will help you get up to speed!

The Portland Beer and Blog community is hosting “End Bloglessness” at CubeSpace, on Saturday afternoon, January 10. Click the link for all the details!

Wikipedia offers us an opportunity to track information, collectively, in ways that have not previously been possible. In the past, we’ve been more or less reliant on news organizations, book publishers, and other private organizations to provide overviews of important topics. And if we want ongoing access to this kind of information, we’re at the mercy of those organizations’ widely varying policies toward their web site content.

Today, I composed a basic article on Loren Parks. This man has been enormously influential on Oregon’s political scene since the mid-1990s, funding innumerable ballot measures sponsored by Kevin Mannix and Bill Sizemore (as well as several campaigns to elect Mannix to public office.)

As Oregonians, we have a strong interest in staying informed about an influential person like this. He gets media coverage, but the archives are dispersed all over the web; there’s nowhere to go to get a dispassionate overview of his life and activities.

Until now, that is.

What other topics need coverage like this? What do Oregonians care about, but have trouble researching?

Versionista monitors changes to regular web sites, in an extremely similar fashion to wiki history tracking. And no wonder, creator Peter Bray of Portland told Wired magazine that his inspiration was Wikipedia’s system of transparent editing. The service first came to attention when John McCain’s campaign used it to try and wound the Obama camp over changes to the wording of his Iraq war policy. Others in turn have used to spotlight changes on McCain’s site. Whatever the use, the ability to apply this facet of the wiki way to regular websites and political organizations is a big step forward in terms of transparency and the further wikification of the web.

Unfortunately, one of the best things about real wiki history, the fact that it’s available to everyone who visits a page on a wiki, doesn’t yet apply to Versionista. As Silicon Florist pointed out, a basic subscription of $200 a year for just 30 URLs is fairly expensive. I consider it a grave misstep for them to charge fees at all to use the service. Better to do as Virgil Griffith did over at WikiScanner: open up the service to anyone, generate more usage and news buzz, and use AdSense (WikiScanner doesn’t) if you’re looking for a profit. Versionista is still going to get a fair number of paid subscribers itching to use it, but only so long as they are the only game in town. All someone need do is set up a competitor using the model above, and Versionista will vanish.

I managed to delete 21 of the last 25 comments to WikiProject Oregon postings. The affected range is from 28 June 2008 through 21 July 2008.

I have the text saved, and am investigating a workable way of resurrecting it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

WordPress’s technical support was responsive. Alas, deletion is forever. Another wiki-spoiling: I expect that everything which was ever there is still somewhere. As recompense, I’ve given myself 20 lashes and re-posted the comments. I apologize for decreased formatting, but I’m pretty sure all the content is present.

—EncMstr

Here’s a partial list of Oregon-related Wikipedia articles that need photos. Surely, you’ve got a photo of Jantzen Beach in your back pocket, don’t you? Low Pass, anyone?

You can license them under a Creative Commons license (CC-BY or CC-BY-SA) on Flickr or upload them to Wikipedia directly. Be careful, though. Adding photos to the best Oregon Encyclopedia around is a gateway drug that leads to more addictive pursuits, like writing about your favorite Oregon band, and eventually to digging through regional planning documents looking for buried creeks.

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