The Austin Improv Wiki (description)

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The Austin Improv Wiki is a wiki devoted to the Austin Improv scene.


[edit] Summary

[edit] Scope

The goal of the wiki is to document everything relevant to Austin improv. This includes primarily theaters, shows, troupes, and performers, but can range beyond that to anything in the scene, from the Bloody Balloon Battle to the Hideout's skull-on-a-stick prop.

[edit] Non-Improv Inclusions

This wiki includes many scripted productions such as Blood, Sweat, and Cheers. While scripted work is not, strictly speaking, Austin improv, the productions documented here either include many Austin improvisors in the production, or use improv as part of a devising process that generates the show's material. Many (including Blood, Sweat, and Cheers) do both.

[edit] Things Outside the Wiki's Scope

Note that this is an intersection of two topics -- "Austin" and "improv". This means that topics documented here have to be relevant to both of those things. General information about Austin (say, favorite restaurants) or general information about improv (say, favorite warm-up exercises) should not be included here. The Main Page includes links to general Austin information and general improv information.

[edit] History

Peter Rogers had the original idea for the wiki on 3/17/13, at a management retreat for The Hideout Theatre. Michael McGill talked about needing to collect historical information about the Austin-improv scene for a grant proposal, and how he'd have to interview many people to piece together what he needed. Peter thought a wiki might be a simple way to gather up that historical information online. Over the following week, Peter decided to expand the scope of the project, not just documenting the history of the scene, but everything else about the scene.

On 3/24/13, Bob Apthorpe created a MediaWiki installation on The Austin Improv Web Site. The next day, Peter Rogers created the first draft of its main page, and began writing hundreds of articles. In the following months, Brad Hawkins created the CSS stylesheets for the wiki, with some help from Jon Bolden.

Over the rest of 2013, the site began attracting spambots, leading to stricter and stricter anti-spam measures. First, unregistered users were banned from adding external links. Then, the account-creation process was put behind a CAPTCHA. Then, account creation was changed so that it would be moderated by the wiki's maintainers.

[edit] Controversy

Some improvisors have felt uncomfortable about the existence of the wiki, feeling that its ever-more-exhaustive documentation runs contrary to the transient, ephemeral nature of the art form. Others have felt that the wiki delves into trivialities that aren't worth the time and effort of documentation.

A number of people involved in Austin improv voiced reservations about having their performance information included on the web, so measures were introduced to protect people's privacy, such as making some pages invisible to indexing sites, and allowing people in the Austin-improv scene to employ pseudonyms.

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