I did not want to do this assignment. I don’t post to websites often anymore because, frankly, I find that the people who exist on them tend to be ignorant and mean. Why subject myself to that kind of violence when I don’t have to. I grudgingly began to search for a topic that would be interesting to me, historical, and not controversial. For the Wikipedia article I chose to expand the plot of one of my favorite childhood books, Caddie Woodlawn. This book was based on a real family who lived in a small frontier town in Wisconsin in the 1860s. It was written by Carol Ryrie Brink, whose grandmother and great aunt told her the stories that would become Caddie Woodlawn. One of the reasons that I chose this particular Wiki entry is because of the discussion we had in class a couple of weeks ago. Women are underrepresented on Wikipedia. The fact that Halo has a story overview that is several paragraphs long while this book had a plot description three sentences long was concerning to me. Caddie was a great role model. Strong, stubborn, independent, and fierce, she faced all situations with calm and a determination to survive. Editing the existing page was time consuming and complicated. One thing I learned is that Wikipedia does not make editing easy. Once I did post, it was fun to check it several times a day to see if it was still up. It was, and is. I never had a problem with my post being rejected. I wonder how much of that had to do with the subject I chose. I am sure if I had attempted to edit the Halo page I would have met with much more resistance. I will probably never create another Wikipedia article, but this was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I like Wikipedia and I am very glad that it exists, but I am not a fan of creating articles for it.
The Boise Wiki was a lot easier to use. Wikipedia’s editing page was complicated and not at all user friendly, especially when compared to how smoothly the Boise Wiki edit page is. The directions were very clear on what needed to be done and how it should be done. For example, I did not know why linking was a big deal until it was explained in the directions. It was also very easy to understand how to create a proper link. I enjoyed the Boise Wiki assignment quite a bit and love the fact that Boise’s history is being examined, one subject at a time, by the people who love Boise and it’s past. This is truly a community driven resource.
For the Boise Wiki I chose to create an article about Billy Fong. Billy was the last member of Boise’s Chinatown to reside in the old Chinese district. He was 84 years old when his home was purchased by the Boise Redevelopment Agency and slated for destruction. Billy had lived in the Hop Sing Tong building for over thirty years, but that was not important to the BRA. Nor was the historic significance of the Eastman Building, Chinatown, or many of the other old buildings in downtown Boise. Billy and the old buildings in the area stood in the way of perceived progress. Despite his eviction, Billy remained in his second floor apartment, refusing to move for several months. His treatment at the hand of the BRA became a symbol of everything that was wrong with the redevelopment plans for Boise in the 1960s and 1970s. It was partly due to Billy and the destruction of the Chinese district that several other buildings and districts were saved. The Egyptian Theater was also supposed to be purchased and torn down but it was rescued, due in part to the efforts of those who were determined not to let another piece of Boise’s past disappear. Billy was tough to research because there is not a lot known about his early life. I’m sure that something could be found if I had longer than three weeks, but who he was prior to his move to Boise is unclear. What happened when he finally surrendered and left his apartment is also unclear. What is known is that he lived in the same apartment in Boise for thirty years. He was a member of the Hop Sing Tong and worked for them in many administrative roles. He was a cook at the Golden Wok and he fought the Boise Redevelopment Agency and lost. He is also responsible for the Boise curse. Legend says that as he left his apartment he cursed the ground, a curse that caused havoc at the site and spread to help create the Boise Hole.