A Wikipedia for plants?
Plants.am aims to become the Wikipedia of the world of horticulture.
Editor's note: The website mentioned in this post, Plants.am, changed its name to Gardenology and may be reached by clicking here.Skip to next paragraph
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Everyone who uses the Internet knows of Wikipedia. Whether you have reservations about it or not, it's become a useful tool for millions. What if there was something similar for plants and gardening?
Actually, there is. Plants.am isn't as well known yet and, because visitors are numbered in the thousands instead of millions, the contents are still growing. But the idea is great and it's up to the garden community to decide if it can be a helpful resource and, if so, add to it and shape it into something beneficial for all.
Q. How did you come up with this idea?
A. When I discovered Wikipedia in 2004, I quickly saw the immense value of a wiki site, which allows anyone to edit any page or add a new one. Within one month of this discovery, I transferred the entire content from a website I had on Armenian topics to a wiki format, so that anybody could help expand it and contribute edits, all the while keeping the articles cohesive. Even as I started work on my Armenian wiki, every time I did a search on a plant for some information, I'd immediately think about the idea of a gardening wiki.
After finally getting my Armenian wiki where I wanted it, I turned next to my favorite hobby, gardening. Because there are tens of thousands of plants in the world that gardeners grow, it is virtually impossible for any one person or organization to bring together all
the information available on them all in one place. There are some great plant encyclopedias and resources, but they are all still limited A wiki is the perfect way to bring all the existing information on plants together, into a cohesive, infinitely expandable
Q. When did it get online?
A. In March 2007 I registered Plants.am, and immediately set up the framework for the site. That, of course, was the easy part. Next came the chicken and the egg problem - a wiki has to have information to attract users, and it has to have users, for the information to really grow!
Q. How does the idea work?
A. When someone visits a page on say, carnations, they might see that there is no zone information. They simply have to click on the "edit" tab on the top of the page and add the missing information. It should be pretty obvious where certain types of information goes, but if not, it's usually ok to put it anywhere, since other people will come along and move it to the right place. That's all there is to it, and it is because of this simplicity that the site has the potential to grow very quickly. Visitors can just jump in and add information,
or reformat/edit it in order to make the articles more cohesive and standardized. Once a little bit of information is added, it's a permanent addition to this body of knowledge.