Everybody's a Critic

Gardening gets its own wiki

Or rather, the zygote of one.

We all know about wikipedia, the online encyclopedia created by us, the internet using public. Anyone—anyone— can post definitions and descriptions. This, of course, opens the door to plenty of misinformation (or just total fabrication), which can then be taken and used as fact by lazy researchers everywhere. The saving grace is that as wiki has grown, so has the speed with which erroneous information is corrected. Indeed, wikipedia’s legitimacy has become so valued by its many creators that often lively discussions evolve regarding the inclusion or deletion of questionable submissions.

And now, (drumroll) there’s a new addition to the wiki family: Wikigardens.

Wikigardens seems to be in its infancy. We’re talking tabula rasa. There are hundreds of botanical names with no descriptions, or any other details: those are waiting to be supplied by—well, us, in our spare time. The easiest way would be to google them and get the scoop from various online (and reputable) academic sources, and then paste it in. (Right, but then why do we need a wiki? Do botanical definitions need to be regularly updated? And what about all the plant stuff on the original wikipedia? Hmmm.)

Moving on. There is a showcase where users can post images of their gardens (two are up so far), garden forums (four entries), a garden journal (no submissions yet) and a help page where the blanks are still, as yet, unfilled.

Actually, it seems kind of silly to continue describing what’s not on this site. It will never be truly useful until legions of volunteer researchers have filled it up. That’s the nature of wiki. Clearly, we should all oil and store our garden tools, install some no-maintenance plastic greenery, draw the curtains, and start wiki-ing.

In all seriousness, I have to wonder. Should busy gardeners who’d rather have their hands in the soil than on a keyboard spend their time transfering the vast amount of garden information already widely available via the web (and, dare I mention, books) onto this site? Maybe. It might be useful. And I’m sure a lot of people will have fun trying to fill this bottomless well. As for me, I’d rather tiki.

Let me know when it’s done.

Posted by on January 27, 2007 at 7:57 am, in the category Everybody's a Critic.
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4 responses to “Gardening gets its own wiki”

  1. max says:

    Thanks to the heroic efforts of its administrators, the Pacific Bulb Society has maintained a wiki for many years:
    It is an excellent resource, largely because of the quality of the contributors. I doubt the internet at large could produce something of comparable quality.

  2. Eliz. says:

    Oh, yes. And so much more.

  3. Pam says:

    Yeah, it looks like a whole lot of work to me! I like the tiki idea better too. I’m assuming that would include some kind of drink with an umbrella in it?

  4. Susan Harris says:

    My reaction exactly!