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For your blog entry this week, write a little bit about the experience of editing Wikipedia. What did you learn? Was it easier or harder than you thought it would be? How does seeing the guts of Wikipedia change your perspective on the project

My experience editing Wikipedia… in a word — interesting, in another word — tricky. I’ll admit it was kinda cool to be able to add my little bit of knowledge to an article, even if it is 1 out of 3 million articles that may be viewed by thousands upon thousands of people. Wikipedia traffic soars to NY Times levels of traffic. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed no one goes in and changes or delete the information I put up because getting that little bit of historical information took a lot time and effort. So the thought of all my hard work could be undone by just one soft touch of the delete key is rather on unsettling. But it will always and forever be cool to share what you know and learn what you don’t.

Formatting what I was adding ,was the tricky part in my opinion. Making sure everything was consistent and flowed nice and smoothly, took a lot of going back and forth to other pages to see how it was done. Plus I had to redo the Wiki tutorial a few times before I felt comfortable enough to make my edits permanent.

What did I learn? That it is quite easy to edit once you get the hang of things. Thank goodness for the sandbox where you can practice writing and editing Wikipedia pages without making a mistake that everyone can see.. When making a change to an article first and foremost the information you add must be useful. After you have decided the information is a must have then input it, include your sources, and add links to other articles. Simply enough.

Was it easier or harder than you thought it would be? All I can say is, getting to the easy part was the hard part. Learning how to do it was challenging, if you have never, ever edited a Wiki article, but once you became comfortable navigating the system, it was a semi-breeze. It all about practice, practice, practice in the beginning. And it is somewhat time-consuming, which is why I can understand the rumored decline in editors. Although the Wikimedia did say, “every month, some people stop writing, and every month, they are replaced by new people.”

How does seeing the guts of Wikipedia change your perspective on the project? It doesn’t change it all. I still agree with Iqbal Mohammed, “Wikipedia was never an encyclopedia – it is (and should remain) a marketplace for information, where buyers ans sellers meet and trade information.” The best we can hope for is that it contains more facts than fiction.


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