An email we see daily at Whorunsgov often comes from a reader suggesting an addition or change to a profile. While emails like this often mention valid changes, the reader could have made the change directly in the profile without informing us first. The strange part about these emails; after we suggest the readers make the changes themselves, readers will make multiple changes to a variety of profiles.
Of course, we’re happy to help any reader realize the ease of going directly to the wiki, but it’s strange that many contributors almost need permission first.
I would imagine this problem persists for many wiki designers. A group builds a site, creates much of the first content on the site and then opens it up to the public, urging them to make the site their own. But for a potential contributor it can seem like they are trespassing on someone else’s property.
This means the reader doesn’t feel like part of the community.
We do everything we can to encourage these potential writers to post on the site. It can be intimidating; after all, anyone can read — and judge — what you wrote. It’s a fear that’s probably common in those who might contribute to our site, as well as those adding to a government wiki. But once you help the timid contributor across that initial barrier, they might become a prolific information provider.
And, really, isn’t that the point of a community? To encourage those who want to help. Sure Whorunsgov is a platform to supply information, but we’re also a community. We simply encourage those who want to help, and aid those who do. This is similar to a government platform. For example, maybe the Department of Defense builds a wiki and obligates employees to help. The DoD will get many contributions this way, but fostering the timid contributor could create the best discussion, leading to the sharing of the most valuable information.
Leave no one behind and the community will truly foster.