We first outlined the idea behind our new stories collection platform in our September 26 newsletter. Since then Jesse Michel has built a minimal version of the project that we can try out for our first couple projects.

The project, which we are tentatively calling StoryTell Asheville, is an experimental one, and we are still exploring how we can use the platform for ourselves and or other communities.

StoryTell Asheville is a site for collections of stories about and by communities, with a focus on the voices of those who have traditionally not been heard and of those who are working to empower them. Our hope is that it will serve as a platform for celebrating Asheville’s delightful diversity, bringing attention and action to community needs, and helping break down the walls that separate us from one another.

The structure of the site is quite simple, consisting of stories and projects, presented in a professional, presentation-ready format.

A story is a narrative contribution to a project from a single person in the form of text or video, just like a Facebook or blog post. No registration is required to post a story, but every story will be reviewed before posting to ensure that it aligns with the purpose of the project and obeys our community code of conduct.

A project is a set of stories that is collected by a community or organization for some purpose, represented by a call to action on the main project page. Projects may be used for a variety of purposes – we are deliberately leaving this open for now to allow exploration. Our only requirement is that projects align with the basic principles above. Here are a few examples that illustrate the range of possible uses:

  • Collect interviews with local homeless individuals to put human faces on an otherwise abstract problem
  • Prepare for a hackathon to introduce participants to the stories of people they will be helping.
  • Capture stories from participants from an event like a hackathon or a protest.
  • Collect stories from two distinct communities in conflict as a way of humanizing one another.
  • Use stories as a way for a community to collectively come to an understanding of the issues they face.

To test out the platform before making it available to other communities, we will use it to collect and display stories about Code for Asheville participants. Our plan is to feature them on the Code for Asheville website to give potential new members and partners a sense of who we are and how they might fit in. Please join us at our December 14 Community Night to start collecting stories.