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Natural disaster wiki
A natural disaster wiki can mean several things. It may refer to a wiki created well before any disaster event, intended to disseminate information to people about being prepared for any disaster event likely to impact their area. This might be an international, regional, national or local wiki, although clearly the more locally relevant the wiki, the more traction it might have with a local community.
Alternatively, it may refer to a wiki that is created post-disaster, for the purposes of coordinating people's actions and disseminating and sharing much-needed information. In some cases, this wiki might be created by staff of a defence organisation, an NGO or a rescue organisation, to help coordination of staff movements across many different actors. Or, it might be a wiki created for or by local community, to help people to stay in touch, share real-time information, to increase situational awareness, to provide donation and housing help, and so forth. In some cases, it could be envisaged that wikis would be shared operations between both authorities in charge of recovery and the local community members with an interest in managing the wiki.
Stating a natural disaster wiki
Here are some ideas for those thinking of starting a natural disaster wiki:
- Consider the needs that might be met by a wiki. Examples include fast collaboration, easy information dissemination, a useful way to share and manage documents, etc.
- Consider the problems a wiki might encounter, such as lack of power, lack of internet, lack of technology. Also, people may not know how to use it or be enthused to use it and training might need to be provided.
- What sorts of information, ideas and knowledge do you want to share? Examples include notices, updates, documents, photos, plans, blueprints, regular forum activity, etc.
- Consider who is available to care for the wiki. There will need to be responsible people in charge of checking Recent Changes for unhelpful information; avoid rumour mongering in times of crisis! For some information, it will need to be vetted where people's health, safety and lives depend on its accuracy and may need experts to view before it is released publicly. Most information of a general nature will be okay for moderators to monitor and can provide a great training exercise.
- What costs are involved? Who will meet those costs? Think server, wiki design, domain registration, maintenance, etc.
- Is the wiki intended to be short or long term? This affects its set-up and depth.
Natural disaster wiki resources
For natural disaster wiki resources see: