Ship Spotting World is going online

26 06 2010

Yes, we’ve gained the server horsepower to add a new wiki for Ship Yacht and Boat fans everywhere.  We are loading under licence from Wikipedia, a selection of relevant articles to get the place started.

Drop by and see Ship Spotting World

We are moving server

26 05 2008

The is not a thing we do lightly, but we have outgrown our current home. We’re adding advertising resources to help fund the migration, the first of which is The Chocolate Cake Church, a wholly eccentric site which we hope will help fund us.

We are getting there – We have a community!

20 12 2007

It takes time for a community to start.  We’ve a small and loyal community now, which is great.  It’s a demanding community and it is learning self sufficiency – a great and desirable trait.

We’re having to make sure that any processes that get put in place are hugely simplified from any counterparts at Wikipedia – it’s a great model, but hugely complex and full of red tape!

We have lively discussions, requests for enhancements, and folks taking personal responsibility.  That’s what a wiki is all about!

Fan Fiction area

6 10 2007

After a while you bow to pressure.  So we have.  We’ve created a whole area for Fan Fiction.  Primarily we expect this to be Thomas The Tank Engine material, but who knows what other areas we’ll attract

We came under attack

26 09 2007

Weird anonymous vandals came and vandalised random articles, even a template or two, wth strings of silly characters.

I could quite cheerfully  vandalise them back.

We’ll solve it with a bot soon.  But, until then, we’ve locked the articles against unregistered users trying to edit

Onwards and upwards

6 07 2007

I haven’t commented on this because I didn’t want to influence it, but Train Spotting World is getting an increasing visitor and editor population each month.  The increase is small, but sustained, and we’re seeing a large number of new articles and extra edits just because of that.

It was always going to be gentle progress, but the progress is positive.   Most important, Train Spotting World is paying its way from the advertising and subsidising its baby brother Plane Spotting World.

Mediawiki and Categories

6 07 2007

How, tell me, how, can anyone design a category system that is free format?

Mediawiki allows catgeories to be set up totally freehand, which means that loops of categories within themselves can be set up.  But any fool knows that a category structure is a hierarchy.

What is in these people’s minds when they design this stuff?

How lovely to be the target of spammers

1 05 2007

We had five spam attacks in one day by spambots that edit existing pages and blast their spam links across the page.

We should have realised this would happen at the start, but we didn’t.  So we’ve implemented a CAPTCHA to limit the effect.  So far today we have seen no spam, but that may just because there have been no attacks yet.  Time will tell.

Another Google Milestone

1 05 2007

All the SpottingWorld sites gained a Google Page Rank yesterday. I am now doing a happy dance.

Well, obviously I’m not doing a dance at all, I’m writing a blog entry, but you know what I mean.

Google Page Rank is not, by itself, significant, byt it does mean that several things have happened, including:

  • Google’s algorithm feels we have sufficient content to be worth ranking
  • The sites are search engine friendly and are easy to index
  • External links to the sites are from areas of the net that Google finds to be non trivial

The start of a wiki was ever going to be slow. I so wonder how long it took Wikipedia to really reach critical mass. Even so, by not forcing things and by letting knowledgeable people discover us, we are moving forward.

The challenges of building a community

10 04 2007

The only way of building a community is to keep promoting it until evangelists arrive and take it over.  The difficulty is finding the evangelists without people thinking you are spamming, or trying to muscle in on their world.

Early on I joined as many railfan email groups as I could find in order to  let members know about us.  There were no false pretences.  I asked each moderator if I could promote the site and all agreed.

Even so the promotion is an uphill struggle.  People still see us as competitive when we are an extra resource to be used.  I’m not sure how to conquer that.