When I redesigned the site in February, the major goal was to allow better access to the archive information. Unlike most blogs, the bulk of the content on johnaugust.com is equally relevant today or four years from today — unlike celebrity marriages, the answers to screenwriting questions pretty much hold solid.
Although I think it’s worked out pretty well, the Big Fat Footer wasn’t my original plan.
I wanted to harness the power of the hive mind to create a user-organized repository of screenwriting-relating articles. See, I’m only one guy. A pretty busy guy at that. I’ll never be able to go back through and update old entries, fixing broken links and outdated references. But my readers? They’re screenwriters, with an overwhelming need to procrastinate. Some of them would likely jump at the chance.
Perhaps the answer was a wiki.
So I installed Mediawiki, the same software which drives Wikipedia. (Maybe you’ve heard of it?) Guess what: It’s complicated. Even as we added articles1, I started to dread the eventual launch. The software was so complex, and such a target for ne’er-do-wells, that I finally shelved it until the vaguely-defined timespace of “after The Movie.”
The wiki has been quietly sitting there, one slash away, for months. And now, finally, I’m ready to give it a go.
I’d slap a red “Beta” logo on it if it weren’t so Web Two-Point-Cheesy. But really, it’s beta. It could completely crash at any moment. The underlying software (not Mediawiki, btw) has many fans, but also many issues, and was honestly chosen for the ease with which articles could get yanked out of it should something more promising come along.
Right now, there’s almost no restriction on who can create or edit an entry. I’m holding on to the “delete” power for now, though I’d love to share that with some dedicated wikiers. You can create a profile for yourself by choosing “Login” and “Register.” By logging in, the community can see who is doing good work.
Early adopters, have at it. I urge you to look at it as I do — an experiment. It might be great; it might be a Really Bad Idea. But it might be worth your time. Have at it here.
- Chad Creasey and Howard Rabinowitz deserve props for getting a “critical mass” of articles written. Mucho thanks to the two of them. ↩