A 5-month Progress Report

As you’ve probably heard by now, in January 2011 the domain Camerapedia.org was sold off to the ad-supported “wiki farm” Wikia.

Most of the volunteers who had built Camerapedia collectively sputtered, “whoa, that’s not what we signed on for!” So exactly five months ago, a group of contributors began splitting off a new project, to keep our “Wikipedia for cameras” free and non-commercial.

And I’m happy to say that today, Camera-wiki.org is very much alive and growing.

Beattie Imperial 90

Cheers! This whopper 4x5 TLR inspired a new wiki article, "Beattie." But we still need your help filling in the details.

Our Flickr group has already grown to 552 people. Please join the discussions there, if you’re curious about us, and might like to get involved. We’ve had about fifteen wonderful folks open their wallets and plunk down cash to cover our hosting costs, although we’d still appreciate your help.

But if you want to see the real story, look at our recent activity page.

Thanks to the efforts of volunteers like Tkmedia, Hanskerensky, and Dustin McAmera, we’ve grown to more than 5,900 article pages (there were fewer than 5,300 when the fork occurred). It’s true that some of these are only brief stubs. But once a page exists, it becomes much easier for someone who owns a particular model to sign up and add more details.

Another amazing success has been the growth of our Flickr photo pool, now up to 34,200 images. (That’s about 7,400 images more than the remnant Camerapedia pool.)  Not only that, we’ve rapidly become one of the 4 largest camera-collector pools on Flickr—currently gaining fast on Camera Junkie (a group that is 5 years old).

One project has taken longer than I hoped. Many images used in Camerapedia articles were licensed “all rights reserved,” and we’ve been laboriously re-confirming permissions to use those in our own wiki pages. Failing that, we’ve been finding replacements where the rights are clear.  We want to get this right: One objection to the Wikia takeover was their irresponsible co-opting of photos never authorized for use in an ad-supported site.

For our part, I believe we’ve got about 95% of the image permissions confirmed now; but I ask for your understanding that it may take a while to locate all the stragglers.

To keep improving the wiki, what we need next is to recruit some real experts in particular camera brands. We need people with deep knowledge of company histories and model variations, information that goes beyond a general work like McKeown’s. We also need people who have access to primary reference sources (vintage magazines, catalogs, etc.) to help confirm and document factual assertions.

Can you help?

Start by taking a look at the FAQ and page markup basics page. Look at the style of some existing pages (like this one). You can get an idea of what other editors are adding by skimming the recent activity log, and clicking the “diff” links to see what changes they’ve made. (A brief description of the edit ought to be added at the end of each log entry.)

If you find the page-markup code a bit daunting, please give a shout (e.g. in our Flickr group). One of the active editors may be able to work with you, to put your contributions into the right page format.

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