Wiki Reflection (Bahnu Naimi)

I chose to write about Castle Rock Reserve because it is a place I have been visiting for at least five years now. I often hike the trails and have spent a lot of time on top of Eagle Rock looking out over Boise, so the place has some personal significance to me. In addition, someone told me a long time ago that it used to be an Indian burial ground, and I was interested to know the truth and the tale behind such a statement.

The main technological frustration I experienced—if it counts as technological—is that there are not many sources on the history of Castle Rock and many of them say essentially the same thing. However, the sources varied enough that I was able to collect the pieces of information exclusive to each source, and create an article that incorporated them all. Also, I was unable to position the photos and the text of my Wiki article in the format I desired. I overcame this hurdle by simply accepting that people will get the point no matter where the photos are placed.

I think the idea of a large, collaborative history of Boise is genius. First of all, the fact that it is collaborative means there is a huge variety of different personalities deciding what things are important about Boise, and what is important to record about those things. For example, my first choice was Castle Rock Reserve because it is important to me, and then I chose what I thought was important for people to know about the place. Because so many people and their differing interests are involved, the history is and will become even more diverse as well as detailed. In addition, having so many people—who I assume are either from or living in Boise—collaborate to create a history is almost like having Boise write its own autobiography. Further, the histories we are collectively recording may very well be useful to people in the future studying our own time and place. If you think about it, a Wiki article is sort of like an average or mean of people’s opinions, thoughts and ideas. Collaborative writing will essentially give future historians a sample and view into the workings of this extensive group of people.

One advantage of writing local history on a Wiki is that it is easy. Anyone can do it, and therefore the information on the Wiki is more likely to be expanded upon. This however is also a liability. With such open access, validity of information is always an issue and must be questioned. Another advantage is that writing local history on a Wiki puts all the information in one, easily navigable place. If someone wanted to visit Boise or was considering moving here, all they would have to do is explore the Boise Wiki page and they would find tons of information straight from the people of Boise themselves.

I would advise future Boise Wiki contributors not to be discouraged if they find their topic has already been written about. First, if you see your topic on the list, click on the link! Some of the articles have barely any information and are simply waiting to be expanded. Second, write about something you care about; you will end up looking harder in your research and thus providing a more detailed article for the Wiki.

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