WikiCU:About

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WikiCU is a wiki with articles related to Columbia University and its neighborhood. It is effectively an insider's guide to Columbia University. As an observant Bwog commenter notes, WikiCU is to an extent Columbia's "institutional memory".[1]

Contents

History

Screenshot of the note in which WikiCU was first conceived.

Beginnings

The site was first conceived on April 12th, 2006, in a note on Yahoo Notepad, as pictured on the right. It was originally intended to be at "cuwiki.com". However, the domain was no longer available by February 2007, so "wikicu.com" was registered instead on February 28th, 2007. Other options included "cuwiki.net" and "cuwiki.org", but these were judged inferior to a ".com" domain name. Since then, "cuwiki.org" has been registered and is the location of a wiki about Cornell University.

The first edits by the wider Columbia community started to be made on Tuesday 6th March in the late afternoon / early evening.

Project Athena

For a few years, Columbia's undergraduate student councils intended to create a Columbia wiki called "Project Athena".[2] The students working on this project managed to create about 50 brief articles, but they didn't get round to making the site publicly accessible. A Spectator editorial on September 6, 2006 spoke positively of the prospect of a Columbia wiki, but noted that "if the delays run too long, students may take it upon themselves to create their own solution. As has been shown by the abundance of private Wi-Fi networks, when the institution doesn't provide a means, students will just come up with their own ways to communicate-and procrastinate."[3] Well, as it turned out, the Spectator's prediction came true. When WikiCU emerged, the articles written for Project Athena were moved to corresponding articles in WikiCU.

Slow Decline

Wikicu experienced a period of slow decline after about 2008 when the very active users graduated. Although edits were still occasionally made, they became more and more rare. By 2011 user registration was disabled to combat spam.

Handover and revitalization

In March 2012 wikicu was compromised by malware, and the administrators were unable to save it. After some discussion Sam Aarons SEAS'14 and a Bwog webmaster took over.[4] Following cleanup the site experienced a renewed energy as new editors were allowed to register and content was updated throughout the site.

Statistics

MediaWiki

WikiCU is powered by MediaWiki software, which records several statistics. The wiki has 3,973 useful articles, or 10,892 if you count all the shorter articles, redirect pages, talk pages, and so on. The wiki also has 1,975 images and other uploaded files. So far, 1,371 users have registered, and 15 have additional administrative powers including the ability to fly. Further statistics are available at Special:Statistics.

MySQL

According to the latest site backup, WikiCU's MySQL database takes up 130.8 megabytes. In the last 30 days, the MySQL database received 5.8 MCn conqueries. (I have no idea what that means; maybe it's a DreamHost-specific stat?) In terms of connects, it received 125,177 in total for the month, making for a 4,471 daily average, ranging from 2,422 to 6,663 per day. In terms of queries, the database received 2,297,565 in total for the month, making for a 82,056 daily average, ranging from 44,541 to 135,581 per day.

Hosting

According to the latest site backup, WikiCU's folder structure takes up 128 megabytes. The site consumes about 50MB of bandwidth per day, for a total of about 1500MB per month.

Google Analytics

More detailed site usage statistics are recorded using Google Analytics. The latest Google Analytics report has lots of detailed and interesting information (number of users, most popular pages, etc.).

Comparative statistics

The following graphs compare WikiCU with other university/college wikis. Only "independent" wikis have been included in the comparison; not wikis run by Wikia or CollegeWikis.

8 July 2007

7 December 2007

Extensions/modifications

  • Cite
  • ConfirmEdit
  • GoogleMaps
  • CategoryCloud
  • videoflash
  • Short URLs
  • Timezone is America/New_York
  • Interwiki links (use w:Page to link to a Wikipedia page)
  • inputbox

Legal issues

Federal law protects WikiCU from libel lawsuits. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, passed in 1996, specifically states that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker." Thus, unlike print and broadcast companies, online service providers cannot be sued if their users disseminate defamatory materials.

References

  1. http://bwog.com/2008/05/11/reminder-pillow-fight/#comment-59183
  2. ESC, CCSC Join to create Athena Wiki
  3. http://www.columbiaspectator.com/?q=node/21818
  4. http://bwog.com/2012/03/14/wikicu-changes-hands/
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