A Wiki Barnraising

A wiki barnraising is a communal process of creating a large number of wiki pages/articles in a short period of time. Taken from the concept of “barnraising” which occurs when a community actively decides to come to the same place at the same time to help achieve some specific goal. Making the impossible possible. It’s pretty much impossible for one person to raise a barn.

Go to gene@pedia and review the topics – pages have already been setup and the text needs to be entered and then formatted.  There are full instructions on the wiki barnraising page.

And just like wikipedia, the definitions over at gene@pedia are available for you to link to in your blog posts.  I find this helpful when I am mentioning a topic such as Tombstone Tuesday – I never like to assume that every reader will have heard about the topic.


Upcoming Geneablogger Projects – Your Help Needed

Beginning in March, Geneabloggers will be working on two core projects that are vital to our growth as a group and to providing valuable services to the genealogy community.  I am looking for volunteers and also ideas for completing these by the end of March if possible.

gene@pedia – A Wiki Barnraising

So far there are only 53 articles over at gene@pedia which is capable of being a valuable resource for not only geneabloggers but all genealogists.  The concept behind gene@pedia is to build a wiki through community participation which can then be used by new geneabloggers who want to know what Tombstone Tuesday is, what a meme is, etc.

While geneabloggers are a very helpful lot and the ability to pitch in and take new genealbloggers under our wings is a hallmark of our group, time constraints can make it difficult to always be available to provide information.  That’s why gene@pedia is a great resource. 

Beginning on March 2, 2009, a “wiki barnraising” will take place the entire month of March.  Just like old-fashioned barnraisings where community members would pitch in to help a neighbor raise a barn in a day, Geneabloggers will build a wiki in a month.  There will be an official announcement next Monday,  but in the meantime here are some ideas to ponder and your feedback is requested:

– do you find the interface of entering information difficult to use over at gene@pedia?

– would it be easier if you could submit information (via an online form or e-mail) and have someone enter it into gene@pedia for you?

– would a webinar session or a webcast (video) explaining how to create gene@pedia articles help?

– would it work to “assign” article topics to people or have a signup list so people could select the topics they want to write about?

– would it help to have incentives from affiliates (such as Ancestry, Amazon, footnote and other genealogy-related vendors) and award them either randomly or to those who enter the most articles during the month of March?

Geneablogging Primer

Do you remember the old primers used in schools during the 19th century? They were an excellent tool to introduce young minds to new concepts.  As we’ve witnessed this past January with many new geneabloggers arriving on the scene, there are always members of Geneabloggers who are new to blogging and overwhelmed by not only the technology but all the customization options available for a blog.

Developing a primer for geneablogging would be a valuable resource that could also attract new members.  Right now I am not sure about the format but I know we need this project completed before the series Who Do You Think You Are gets underway this summer.  Also having such an introductory tool would help our outreach efforts especially when geneabloggers attend conferences this summer and talk up the Geneabloggers site and the concept of blogging about your genealogy.

Right now the Geneablogging Primer is in the “concept formation” stages with lots of idea generation going on.  Again, your input is needed and welcome.  Please add your feedback in the Comments section on these ideas:

What format would work best for a Geneablogging Primer?

– A series of blog posts, quick reference cards in PDF format?

– A slide presentation, perhaps with audio narration?

– A webcast?

– A webinar series where participant can attend a session to learn about a specific topic?

Would a “coaching” or “tutoring” program work or be valuable? One where a new geneablogger is paired up with someone with more experience?

Should there be a charge to participants? (Note: my goal has always been to keep Geneabloggers as a free and fully-accessible site.  Some may feel that since considerable time and resources are going in to developing a Geneablogging Primer, that a minimal $5 charge could help Geneabloggers take on more outreach projects, especially at genealogy conferences)

What are your ideas?


With more and more people discovering how to “geneablog” there are more and more questions about concepts such as “blog carnivals” and “memes,” as well as genealogy terminology such as “lookups” and “cemetery inventories.” While the geneablogging community has always been a helpful and welcoming one, having a definitive resource one could go to would have great value.

Thus was born gene@pedia.  It is a wiki based on the MediaWiki platform which drives Wikipedia.  Users prefer wikis that mimic Wikipedia since the “look and feel” seems to make them more comfortable.

On the downside, MediaWiki is not an easy platform for most users.  The main hinderance: it is not WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) meaning that edits cannot be made in a Rich Text Format dialog.  There are some basic codes that must be used.

Despite there being an extensive set of Help files for gene@pedia, I will be working on a more extensive set of tools for users so they can become acclimated to the MediaWiki environment.  This will include recorded videos as well as some webcasts where users can join a webconference, get on the phone and we’ll have a good old-fashioned “wiki bee” as I’m calling it!

If you have questions about gene@pedia please let me know and I’ll be happy to answer them!