EnviroWiki.org.uk is a new form of social network. Using the same wiki software as Wikipedia, it allows us to map activity in two different ways: geographically (breaking down UK content into regions, counties and London boroughs) and by category, which shows how networks and organisations interrelate.
Entries can be added to as many categories as users think suitable, much like tagging systems on sites like youtube.com that allow an organic 'folksonomy' to emerge rather than a top-down taxonomy. This is particularly valuable when dealing with organisations and initiatives at the cutting edge of social development, which don't fit into traditional frameworks.
Unlike Wikipedia, EnviroWiki doesn't claim to be impartial. In fact, we actively encourage companies, organisations and councils to use their EnviroWiki page as PR, and are quite happy to lock any pages that the owners would rather the general public couldn't edit. However, there will always be an open discussion page next to every entry, allowing visitors to comment on the content and giving a platform for engagement.
What's EnviroWiki's 'unique selling point'?
There are already dozens of networks linking businesses and third sector organisations, and dozens of social networking sites trying to facilitate communication between different groups.
This profusion of networks is an indication of the vitality of the sector, and we certainly don't wish to replicate or replace the valuable work already being done.
However, it is precisely because there are so many networks that EnviroWiki can be so useful, as an overarching tool that allows us to see how different organisations and levels of governance relate to one another.
How is the site structured?
The basic distinction on the site is between category pages and entry pages. Exactly what the conventional division between them becomes will depend on how users respond to the system, but broadly speaking the entry page is the equivalent of the 'about us' section on a website (or PR blurb for a book, or CSR for a company etc.), while the category page acts as a guide to the contents of that category. In time we may use a screen tint to help users distinguish the two.