Campus / News / April 13, 2011

Saving the WikiFire

The Wiki Fire, which was founded in spring 2007, is an alternative, student-run platform which hosts a variety of opinions on students, faculty members, events and anything else Knox.

Founder Tom Fucoloro ’08, a former Editor-in-chief for The Knox Student, started the website for a graphic design class as part of a project to create a “disorientation guide” for freshmen.

“I got a Richter Grant as a part of a project in a different class I was taking, Investigative Journalism.” said Fucoloro. “I received $119 for start up and I learned how to program. Graham Troyer-Joy ‘08, helped with the project, saying, “It was a lot of hitting my head against the wall, going to Google and other stuff online and eventually I got it all to work.”

During the graphic design class, the response to the idea was minimal, Fucoloro remembers, but soon after the site was put in place positive response grew among students.

“By the end of the first month we probably had over 100 pages,” Fucoloro said.

Every year a new class of students comes to Knox and the Wiki Fire takes on a new role for the students.

“It’s interesting to see how new classes interact and use the site because it changes from year to year,” Fucoloro said.

Current administrator of the site senior Gabe Paz explained the importance of the site.

“Its like this piece of Knox history from the student perspective. It’s a piece of Knox culture that is purely of the Knox students,” Paz said.

A large part of the website’s traffic comes during the spring months, amid the growing speculation about Flunk Day.

By its second year running, the Flunk Day page of the site had grown into what it is today, a place to post any and all rumors surrounding the infamous day.

“People were running around posting rumors about trucks parked around and other things. … People do this stuff anyway, but they weren’t organized about it. It took the Flunk Day mystery and put it into the 21st century,” Fucoloro said.

“This year it’s not getting as much attention as it used to,” Paz said. He partially blames himself for not giving the site enough publicity.

The site has seen some issues with posts recently, but not much more than some spam and a few inappropriate posts.

“People are fearless behind a computer. They will say the meanest things about someone, especially when it’s anonymous.” Paz said.

Recently Paz took over a large part of the administrative roles for the website.

“He contacted me a couple years back and asked if I wanted to be a part of it.” Paz said.

Currently Paz is tabling during lunch to try to raise money for the cost of keeping the site going.

“Right now we are just trying to raise money for it since Tom can’t pay for it anymore. He has been out of school for about three years now. I told him I would pay him back for last year and pay for the general cost in hosting the site.” Paz said. “We want to fundraise for up to five years [of hosting] so they would give us a discount.”

Paz feels like he has had success in tabling. “I’ve only been tabling for a day and we got like fifty bucks, which is pretty sweet,” Paz said.

So far Paz has been only tabling during dinner, but hopes to get the other administrators, seniors Marnie Shure and Sam Martone to expand the tabling times.

After Fucoloro graduated, he continued to pay for the site and work on keeping it running. “I see it partially as a donation to the school,” Fucoloro said.

Both Fucoloro and Paz hope to see an update to the site very soon. This update will hopefully improve performance and be more visually pleasing.

John Williams

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