Intro to Networked Collaboration

Wikipedia

I made some posts to Wikipedia over the last few months. For this assignment, I used footnotes for the first time. I wrote three paragraphs and used footnotes. In the past, I have had things I’ve written reversed because I didn’t use footnotes.  Sometimes, when what we say is based on anecdotal information, it can be reversed on the basis that Wikipedia considers it to be “essays”.

Making commentary is considered an essay, and so everything has to be based on some kind of reference, or it can be legitimately reversed by the Group of 500 who read around Wikipedia reversing new entries.

Regarding my entries, I have found really only two reversed because they were on controversial entries which attract a lot of scrutiny. On one, I did go back with references to books or other published sources, and I have noticed that the second entry stuck, even though I know the point is controversial and contentious and there are probably people seething that I managed to put that there and substantiate it.

I have also introduced an alternative viewpoint, with a reference, saying something like “this point of view is debated and a central point of so and so’s alternative point of view…”  along with a footnote to support that.

In another case, my entry didn’t stick cause it was based more on personal experiences and observations made from a lifetime of working in a certain field.  A third case, the entry was directly taken from other reading I had done in the past, and so I was glad to contribute something new or additional to what people had already posted to contribute to the collective understanding. It wasn’t controversial stuff, so nobody really cared to challenge it. I could find the footnotes if I had to.

In principle, I think Wikipedia is really useful for getting a top level indication of definitions, and sometimes it is possible to see what the alternative view points are when authors take the time to present the alternative viewpoints, rather than just erase things they don’t agree with.  I do read everything, including Wikipedia, with a grain of salt so that isn’t new to me.  Legitimate well branded publishers also have big biases in their publishing programs. Barron’s for example is one I always write to to argue with them about their biases and information and viewpoint blackouts. The same is true for Investors Daily Digest, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and hundreds of daily newspapers around the country controlled by Community First Newspaper Holdings, and others like them, News Corporation (Daily News, Fox News), etc etc. I challenge all of them when I have the time.

In principle, I am pleased with the integrity of Wikipedia to challenge and accept the entries I have written.  It is true that the things that I wrote that were reversed needed footnotes. I am sure it would take a long time to correct or challenge things that are not ‘swarmed’ as Josephine said, but I do think there are reviewers in the Group of 500 who do routinely look at new entries, so it might not take that long. Think about how long it took for Howard Zinn the write “The people’s history of the United States”…like 300 yrs after the myth making started. And, it is not over yet, there are still myths everywhere, in every country and pushed out there by every group. And alternatives are suppressed by every group. So what is new with that? Wikipedia gives us a chance to be a participant in that, and to write about things nobody else really knows about like a drink called the “woo woo” ????

I wish I could do this on just about every news article I read, where I think the writers are leaving out important points just so they can support or reinforce their own or their owner’s point of view…it is so endemic in our culture today the way the media works and the ownership rules allow. It is shameless and no wonder half the country think the other half are in the dark! There is just so little honest discourse going on out there, and so few people are really informed enough to know, or are honest about trying to educate or inform the public.

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October 12, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. I just tracked my additions to Kali on the Wiki and they have been removed! Can I track who removed them and when?

    Comment by ayvak | October 20, 2008 | Reply


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