The St Louis, Missouri Localwiki - http://localwiki.net/st-louis - was mostly empty when the events in Ferguson, MO started on August 9, 2014 with the death of 18 year old student Michael Brown. As with any event where there's a lot that's going on in an unfamiliar area, I was drawn to making some sense of what was happening. This has been especially true when the coverage on the #ferguson hashtag overwhelmed my Twitter feed, which had been usually quiet at night.
The Localwiki crew - including Jason Denizac, Marina Kukso, Philip Neustrom, James Halliday, and others have been super helpful in filling in the blanks on the Localwiki map around Ferguson. It's been helpful to get one step away from the relentless outsider media scrum and read background pieces by local journalists from places like the Riverfront Times, the St. Louis American, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Writing and editing a localwiki has been a helpful way for me to process some of the difficult things that have gone on. It turns a helpless feeling into some sort of community engagement. I am conscious that I'm not always going to be engaged in this effort at the level that I am now, so there's some extra care not to leave too many loose ends in the process. As of this writing (August 21, 2014) there are about 150 pages in the St. Louis Localwiki, which is just barely a start.
Ideally someone local to the scene would eventually happen upon the localwiki and find it useful, or someone who was comfortable in the localwiki space would move to the area and be drawn to it as a way to document their surroundings. To some extent I feel like as much of an outside tourist as the news media that parachuted into the area to cover events; yet it doesn't really feel that way so much. Time will tell.