Oakland Wiki: An Introduction

Let me start by saying this is my first foray into open source peer collaboration. In fact, prior to enrolling at the School of Information, I don’t think I would have known what the term meant, or understood why one would commit his or her time to a project for free. As we’ve learned throughout the readings, people have incentives for participating in open source projects for different reasons. And, I guess I’m no different when choosing to work on OpenOakland.

Intentions of Involvement For my open source project, I’ve chosen to work on OpenOakland’s “Oakland Wiki.” I chose this project for two reasons: 1). My background focuses on content creation, production and management, user experience, data analysis and some front-end development, and I believe my labors would be most fruitful and productive if I invest my time and effort into a project largely dedicated to content production, and 2). I am moving from San Francisco to the Oakland area, and I’d like to familiarize myself with the city and the community by reporting and engaging with a site dedicated to maintaining such information.

Initial Introduction & Contact OpenOakland’s site offers a general form for people to contact the initiative. It’s just a standard template: email, name, subject line and comment. I crafted an email stating why I wanted to participate in such a project. I also mentioned a bit about my background, hoping the lead organizer would leverage my skills and put me on a larger project instead of making smaller changes to the site. I’d say the email was pretty informal, but came across as professional and serious about helping the cause.

Experience & Barriers So far, I have not received a reply from the project lead or anyone else in the community. However, I noticed there’s an extensive, though somewhat disorganized guide for volunteers, and an email list serv for discussion. In general, the group meets every week in Oakland for an edit party, and I will likely take advantage of this meeting time to solidify another channel of communication with someonel. Therefore, I do not think there will be a ton of barriers for participation. Right now, the experience contacting the community has been general, and not personal. Though, I look forward to attending an edit party tomorrow night and meet the people involved, and then from there I’d imagine my communication with members will be more personal. Stand by for more…

Contact Email #1: Hi there,

I hope you're doing well today.

My name is Christine Petrozzo and I recently came across the OpenOakland projects. I am interested in helping more extensively with content production and front-end development of the Oakland Wiki.

I am interested in building out some of the pages for you and editing the content. I am now a resident and I would love a local resource for all things Oakland. What's a better way to learn about your surroundings that exploring and reporting on it?

However, are there larger projects you're trying to tackle that are top priority and need a hand? Apart from content production and editing, I have a front-end development, marketing/analyst and user experience background and I am happy to pitch in wherever is needed.

Please let me know if there's something that's a top priority! I am also looking forward to the edit parties so I can meet the team.

Best, Christine

added Comments Thomas 11/6/2013 (see commit description)