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Scratch Team Blog: Scratch wiki: by and for Scratchers

Scratch wiki: by and for Scratchers

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Here is a contributed post by one of the young members of the Scratch community leading the newly created Scratch wiki. A very exciting initiative!

Scratch Wiki, a wiki about scratch made by scratchers, for scratchers, is finally out! 

Now, unless you live trapped inside a cave, you probably know about the popular, free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia, named Wikipedia. It has 15 million articles, which have all been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site. So this website is great - but if you want to post real in-depth information about a hobby, which in this case, is Scratch, you can only post summaries of it on the Scratch article, and that's about it. Not much information about blocks, or programming techniques, or animating techniques. This is because it would be deleted because it would not be considered "important enough". So, my goal, was to create a wiki, with information on all of the topics I just mentioned.

So what's a great wiki creating website, which has a great community, gives high page-ranks on Google, has plenty of features, and is completely free? Wikia. Now, to be honest, I didn't create the wiki myself, but rather I joined the Scratch Wiki at, around July 2008 - and it was created by a user named LukeTek. But I only got actively editing, around February this year.

After editing a lot, another administrator on the wiki, named Juiceybox on the Scratch Website, made me administrator. This was a big step. Now, I could really make major interface changes, and make it more eye-catching. More importantly, this motivated me to actually use my powers, and not waste them, and use them to get people to join, and create a wiki with the sum of all Scratch knowledge.

So, I advertised the Scratch Wiki as a project, on my forum signature, and as a forum topic. After time, some users joined, and became large helpers - like Chrischb, Jonathanpb, and Mkolpnji especially - but it wasn't as big of a rush as you would think. But, enough people joined after time, and after many contributions the wiki actually looked fairly impressive. There were articles on about half of the Scratch blocks, along with many features of the Scratch program, and the website.

But the big stuff all happened when I asked one of the members of the Scratch Team about the wiki. Originally, I contacted the Scratch Team about different arguments between users on the website, but then, I shifted the topic to the Scratch Wiki. I asked them "Do you think I could maybe share about the Scratch Programming Wiki at Scratch Day?" and they replied positively, and there was even talk about creating an actual Scratch Wiki being part of Scratch website. So I was very excited.

So Andrés, one of the members of the Scratch Team, gave us some space on a server and me and JSO, all started working on the wiki, and although at first it looked like wikipedia-style page with no content, eventually we changed the skin to match the Scratch Website, and then import the content, and fixed different things, released it, and we have what you can see now.

The one important aspect about the wiki though, is anonymous editing. As you know, on Wikipedia there are tens of thousands of active contributors. A small fraction of those people however, are people who vandalize by erase content, putting ridiculous facts, and doing many other things - which results in bans. Thus, many people have to get out their ban hammers, and revert the edits, and do what they do. However, we didn't want the vandalizing, and we didn't want people to get banned. So we decided to not allow anonymous editing. We hope to invite many different Scratchers to help edit the wiki, and make it as good of a source as possible!


Jarad said...

Yay! :)

Also, for "Alternatives to Scratch", add "Android App Inventor", it's where you can make Android apps with the same block technology as Scratch. Just saying.

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