Wikipedia Reports

So I hope you enjoyed Wednesday’s class; I know we covered a tremendous amount of ground quickly so feel free to ask Mike some questions next week. I know many of you were SHOCKED at how the web (especially images) isn’t all public domain, free to be used on your own blogs. Here’s a funny example of that creeping up this week. Also, this week, one of my college classmates, a novelist, discovered that she’s labeled on Wikipedia as a World War II veteran. You can’t be too careful online!

Thanks for sticking with me through a broad, fast-moving lecture that covered a lot of ground last night. Here’s a piece on Wikipedia written for Slate by my buddy Chris Wilson. There’s more information in there on Ed Chi’s research as well as the chart I showed in class Wednesday night.

As for your own Wikipedia project, here’s what we’re looking for:

Write a new page or substantially edit an existing page within Wikipedia. By substantial, I will be looking for more than 200 words of original material or the equivalent in terms of reorganization or “wikification.” You’re going to be graded not just on your contribution but how well you do within the bounds of Wikipedia—whether your contributions are welcomed, fit within the context of the Talk page within your particular entry, your adherance to NPOVand “notability” guidelines, and the like.

You’ll need to spend some time learning the ethos of Wikipedia via its tutorial and reading through the tutorials and talk/discussion pages where you want to make your contribution. It’s valuable too to read “What Wikipedia Is Not.” Make sure that your chosen topic doesn’t include a conflict of interest, as Wikipedia defines it. As the page explains, “COI editing also risks causing public embarrassment outside of Wikipedia for the individuals and groups being promoted.”

You won’t be penalized if your changes are undone, as long as you avoid COI and have a good case for your notability/NPOV, etc., and engage in the discussion if necessary.

Here’s the Welcome page and the tutorial page to get started. Make sure to play around this week so Mike and I can answer any questions you have in class next week or by email. You can also try the Help page. If you think you’ll be engaged in editing Wikipedia in the future, I’d encourage you to get a copy of Wikipedia: The Missing Manual. For this assignment, a digital version is available.

Your edits are due by classtime, 7:45 p.m., on Wednesday, November 17, 2010. By that time, you have to email me and Mike with your username and a link to the entry you either (a) created or (b) edited. We will be able to determine based on the page history what you edited, even if your edits are undone by another editor. It’s okay for your edits to be undone if you (a) adhere to the notability and NPOV guidelines and (b) can make a case, both to us and in the entry’s Talk page for why your edits deserve inclusion.

To be clear, as is the policy announced in class on the first week, we do not accept late projects without penalty. You have plenty of time to complete this project if you begin it now. Do not leave it to the last minute because it’s more complicated than you think it will be.

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One Response to Wikipedia Reports

  1. Pingback: Weekly #8: Wikipedia Should Be Trusted, Not Judged « SocialSmashDC

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