Today Backpacking Light launches a wiki as a community-driven reference on lightweight backpacking. With BPL's passionate and active online community, we are confident that the wiki will quickly become a valuable tool and an excellent supplement to BPL's published articles and community forums.
For those not familiar with the technology, a wiki is a website that can be edited by its users, allowing users to create new articles that contain images, links, and tables. It is a community project, where anyone can create content. What makes a wiki unique is that the collective power of a large and passionate community can quickly create a valuable resource. As a site targeted at reference material, the BPL wiki will be limited to certain types of content. Reference material that contains factual information such as articles about hiking trails, collections of recipes, or examples of techniques are perfect for the wiki. Articles that are primarily opinion pieces, such as essays and gear reviews are not appropriate for the wiki.
The Backpacking Light wiki launches today as a reference for BPL readers.
To get things started, the wiki has been organized into a series of categories to help organize the content. The categories are People, Places, Companies, Food and Nutrition, Techniques, Materials, and Gear. There is also a page to collect links to BPL classic articles, making it easier for users to find those pieces that represent the best and most popular material published on BPL. The wiki has been seeded with a limited amount of content, and we expect it will take some weeks for the community and staff to get it populated more fully. Examples include:
From People: Bio of Ryan Jordan
From Food and Nutrition: the Recipes page
The BPL Classics page
A Challenge to the BPL Community
As a collaborative project, the wiki will rely on the community to reach its full potential. The collective knowledge and experience of BPL readers is immense, as is evident from the forums and reader reviews. Our challenge to you is to get involved and help grow the wiki. Imagine the value of definitive pages on your favorite trails and wilderness areas. Imagine the knowledge that could be harvested from the BPL forums on topics such as cuben fiber or insulation properties or fording rivers. Imagine the value of collecting links related to a single topic from BPL articles or other areas of the web. Now all of these things can be done easily and with the help of your fellow members.
So our challenge to you is to get involved. To give you a little motivation, we'll be monitoring the wiki and will give out up to fifty gear shop coupons for $14.99 to those who create articles or add significant content. We can monitor this online, so you do not need to contact us - we'll contact you. However, you can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have suggestions on overall organization or content. You can also direct those same comments to the forums.
Editing the Wiki
There are help pages on the wiki with basic information regarding policies, content, and editing. If you are interested in creating new content, please take a quick look at these pages before you get started. The wiki is open to everyone on the web, but if you wish to edit the wiki, you will need to have a BPL account and be logged in. This allows us to track changes and attribute changes to users.
New Search Engine and Tabs
Also launched today is a re-organization of the tabs on BPL web pages. The new tabs are: Home, Articles, Shop, Community, and Wiki. These changes accurately reflect the organization and use of BackpackingLight.com and will help users more easily navigate the site. Finally, today we are also launching a new search engine. This engine is a significant improvement over BPL's previous search capability and will make it easier and more effective to search the vast collection of material at Backpacking Light.
Collectively, these changes are a significant step forward in creating value for Backpacking Light readers. We are excited to see where the wiki will go in the weeks and months ahead. As always, we welcome your participation in the process and your comments on future directions.