Features of this site:
- It's FREE
- NO registration required
- Anybody can edit / contribute
- It's VERY useful
- It has content for experienced and inexperienced toastmasters
- It even has TIMING LIGHTS
- It's user-friendly
- It's YOURS.
How this site is organised Edit
Eventually the site organisation may look something like the diagram.
I'm trying to work out how to make the diagram clickable.
The site philosophy is to have three main themes:
This includes categories such as
A note on Categories.
You can choose to assign a page to one or more categories. If you do that, the wikicity software automatically gives you a list of all the other pages in that category.
This allows somebody to search for all the Clubs, for example.
Or All pages relating to District 74
Or All contests. Just click on the category at the bottom of hte page.
A speech contest would fall into all three of those.
- Speaking because it involves speaking, so there may be speakers biographers
- Leading, because there's a section on how to run a speech contest
- Geography, because i'm not interested in what's happening in the US or even Cape Town. I want to know what's happening locally.
The Geography category will eventually have one category per region as well as one category per district.
Why This Wikia?Edit
Toastmasters around the world re-invents the wheel. There are 80 or so districts, each with their own web site, and many many many of them have exactly the same information on them. So Toastmasters as an organization has donated 80 people's time to all do the exact same thing. What a monumental waste of time and effort!
Even in South Africa, many people have written stuff out of frustration that it doesn't exist – only to find somebody did a similar job five years ago but nobody could find it. With the wikicity, that effort never has to be repeated. Information that is useful to one Toastmaster is often useful to another. Now, for the first time, all Toastmasters in the world can go to one place to get the most up-to-date best practices on all aspects of Toastmastering.
- Are you looking for meeting theme ideas? The Wikia has them.
- Are you looking for new ways to run table topics? The wikicity has lots of ideas?
- Want to know how your club is doing? Look for resources on the wikicity.
- What's the best way of winning a competition? The wikicity articles by competition winners who share their knowledge. (Not yet, but we're working on it).
- What's the best way of doing an HPL? The wikicity has a community of people doing HPLs that are sharing the practice behind the theory.
But it sounds like the wikicity is taking away from the district web site. Why can't Erich use his enthusiasm to promote District 74 instead of doing his own thing? In fact, the wikicity frees up District 74's webmaster from answering the same old questions that all Toastmasters have. Let's look at why districts exist: they exist to promote Toastmasters.
- Why does South Africa (or any other district) need Toastmasters?
- How much does it cost (by Geography)?
- What district events are happening (club officer training, conferences, etc)?
District websites should provide district information. They should provide geographically-based support. They should promote Toastmasters by means of the Speakers Bureau and other marketing initiatives. It's just silly to think that every district website should answer the same frequently asked questions.
(Feel free to put your district website address here if you link to the wikicity) Three other districts have already put links on their district web sites to the wikicity, including District 71 (England / Ireland). Those districts don't see the wikicity as competition -- instead they see the wikicity as a resource.
The wikicity takes traffic away from district sites Edit
- When speakers go to a quotation web site, nobody complains.
- When speakers look for jokes on the internet to improve their speeches, nobody complains.
- When club officers go to the TMI website to look for ways to improve their club, nobody complains.
The fact is, leaders and speakers need different things and they go to different places to get them.
* When a leader needs to know when the next Club Officer Training is, then the district website will have that information.
- When a club VPPR wants to sell a guest on the benefits of joining Toastmasters in South Africa, then the district website will have that information.
But if it's appropriate for all Toastmasters in the world, then surely it's better to have one global resource instead of webmasters around the world frantically typing the same stuff into their own web sites.
So who has control?Edit
The person with control over the wikicity doesn't exist. Everybody has control. But in practice, what it means is, that the people who contribute have control. For the moment that's mostly Erich Viedge. But people from District 6, district 56, District 40, District 53 (Thanks Val!) District 71 and others from District 74 have also contributed bits to the wikicity. There is nothing that can stop you (especially not Erich) from re-writing the wikicity, from taking in a different direction -- even from deleting it completely if that's what you want. Unfortunately, somebody else (from District 56, say) may want something different, and may take control from you. So it's in all our best interests to play nicely. The best way to control the wikicity – start contributing to it and driving traffic to it. Just contribute one tiny little article. That's all. That gives you control.
So The wikicity is like a blogEdit
No. For what this site is and isn't, see: Toastmasters_International:Community_Portal
- The Wikia is much closer to a text book than a blog. Many text books have chapters written by different people. That doesn't make the text book inaccurate. On the contrary – the text book is even more accurate because experts from different fields have written on their area of expertise.
A blog is just a single person ranting away with his own opinion. A wikicity is a collection of articles written by people who want to share their expertise with other people. The very nature of the wikicity means that if somebody detects bias or inaccuracies in the articles that are posted, they are free to change them. That means everybody benefits because everybody contributes their knowledge.
The other huge benefit of the wikicity is that, because anybody can contribute, you're not waiting for one guru to "update the web site." When somebody has won a competition, the winner, loser, runner-up, contest chair or member of the audience can go to the wikicity and update the results. On wikipedia.org, the on-line encyclopedia, inaccuracies on sites like Microsoft and Al Qaeda are corrected within 2 minutes! Nobody can make a webmaster move that fast. But because everybody who is interested is also contributing, that means the information is always fresh, topical, up-to-date and relevant.
So what should the District website have?Edit
The district website should have stuff that will serve the district's toastmasters.
- A calendar of events
- An up-to-date Speakers' Bureau
- A list of media and marketing material for clubs to use to promote their clubs in their countries
- An up-to-date list of geographically-based initiatives (such as SAQA)
- Lots and lots of promotional items for conferences and other Toastmasters initiatives.
- A link to the wikicity for speakers and leaders who need help fast
- As many resources for speakers and leaders as possible
But what about mailing lists and blogs. Aren't they better?Edit
Mailing lists are excellent because many people are reading them at once. They are also good for building community spirit. But it takes a day or so to get an answer – especially from people in the US who are inconveniently in time zones six to nine hours out of kilter with SA. The other problem with mailing lists is that you've only got the collective wisdom of the people on that mailing list. (One list has about 150 members, which is more than this wiki right now (October 2005). But not for long. With a wikicity, the site is always up. It's quick and easy to find the information; and the information has been seen by many more people so is more likely to be accurate.
Link your site to this Wikia!Edit
Do you really want to re-write a whole bunch of information for your site that's on practically every decent Toastmasters site in the world?
If you want your District site to be truly useful, fill it with useful resources! And this Wikia is a useful resource!
- Use this site to host FAQs (like the one for new speakers)
- Come here for ideas (for Table Topics, or Themes for meetings, for example,Toast)
- You can find Tips Per Assignment for C&L speeches as well as meeting roles.
- If your members have general questions, they will be better served here at the Wikia!
Look for the resources you need, or would like to share. If they're already there, use them or add to them. If not, simply add whatever you've got.
You do this by clicking on the "edit" buttons sprinkled around the page (often near the top or on the right hand side). Then you type away.
If you like, you can create a login name so other users can track the contributions you make.
But you don't have to if you don't want to. Have a blast! -- Erichv 07:44, 7 Sep 2005 (UTC)