About a year and a half ago, I had this idea. Basically, I wanted to create a community-driven, Wikipedia (online collaborative information hub) for North Minneapolis.
Like many struggling communities, there are a million different efforts for the betterment of the community going on all at the same time. Some are established non-profits with up to date websites, others are a few neighbors planting a community garden. There are lot’s of businesses, neighborhood activities, school projects, and a deep rich history. Basically, there is enough information to fill a book, or a website. And the benefits of a central information hub are far reaching. Getting the hours for the local hardware store, to foreclosure help. to the history of the neighborhood park. But, who would write it?
I figured wiki software, giving anyone the ability to contribute to the website, was the perfect solution for bringing together and building this community information hub. However, I didn’t want to launch anything on my own, being new to the neighborhood and relatively unknown. So, I put together a mock-up of the idea and sent it to a few of the community organizations and folks I knew in the neighborhood. I got a few “great idea” responses and one organization that jumped at the opportunity to make it happen, so we launched InsideNorthside.org. Long story short, the organization has done nothing with the project except pay the $200 hosting fee for the wiki site.
In the mean time, I’ve put in several hours designing the site, spreading the word and building the pages. It’s still something I think is a good idea, but it won’t succeed as just a one-man project. I’ve made efforts at finding others who believe in the project and want to contribute, but so far no one has really jumped on board. In all the edits to build the site there have been about 10-20 contributions besides my own, and that’s all.
So, I’m at a crossroads. Do I continue to try and build the site, growing it until it becomes a useful resource for the northside on my own? OR is it time to just put it to rest and join in other projects and efforts as I have opportunity?