2010-9-10 - First content building
|2011-6-15 - LocalWiki pilot process began|
|2011-11-1 as a localwiki pilot|
DentonWiki's early origins parallel those of the LocalWiki project. Shortly after the LocalWiki project was announced, a Facebook group was started to promote the idea of a Denton local wiki. After the Facebook group showed a good deal of support, Andrew Broz, then a student at University of North Texas, created the initial DentonWiki site on 2010-9-10 using the older DavisWiki software. Ritch Ludlow, also a UNT student, quickly got involved in the project and registered DentonWiki.org. Neither Ritch nor Andrew fit the traditional "community organizer" mold.
Ritch and Andrew tried promoting the early DentonWiki (which ran oldschool DavisWiki software). They ran into severe problems with contributors finding the legacy software difficult to use. Ritch tried to offset this barrier by creating a series of humorous YouTube "How-to" tutorial videos.
In June of 2011, Philip Neustrom and Mike Ivanov contacted Ritch and Andrew about becoming one of the first LocalWiki pilot communities. DentonWiki was transitioned over to the LocalWiki platform in early June. Philip and Mike, busy with crucial software development work, selected Denton because they felt the project could drive itself without much direct guidance during the buildout period.
Right around when the LocalWiki pilot period began, Andrew Botz deployed to the Ukraine for the Peace Corps, leaving Ritch without a strong "partner in crime" to help him drive the project.
Buildup to launch
In August of 2011 the LocalWiki software became mature enough that it was suitable for the general public. A goal of launching the DentonWiki on November 1st, 2011 was set and Philip headed to Denton for two weeks to help with the launch effort.
During the roughly two week period leading up to the site launch, Philip and Ritch held regular DentonWiki editing / hang-out sessions. Content-wise, we focused on highlighting interesting pages and making sure pages were really well linked. We wanted to make sure that someone who landed on the home page would be likely to find something interesting, and that they'd be able to just keep "clicking around," sufing from page to page via links.
Pre-launch promotion efforts
Because Denton was the first LocalWiki pilot, getting feedback on the nascent LocalWiki software was really important. We held off on doing much promotion during the early part of the pilot period because we wanted to make sure basic kinks in the software were worked out. Promotional efforts during the pre-launch phase were focused on trying to build a core, dedicated group of editors to help drive the project.
About a month before launch a simple flyer (shown right), modeled after the very first DavisWiki flyer, was made and put out around the UNT campus. Ritch made some cool DIY DentonWiki stickers because we couldn't figure out how to get some real stickers printed in time for the launch. Real, awesome stickers were made two weeks later.
The DentonWiki launched to the public on Nov. 1st, 2011 with over 800 pages. We wrote up a cheesy press release and sent it to some local media oulets. Right after launch, DentonWiki was covered in the local daily as well as on KNTU radio.
See also the page about the launch on DentonWiki.
We'll document meetups here.