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The Wilderness and Wikipedia!

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Shyamal L

on 1 March 2014

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Transcript of The Wilderness and Wikipedia!

The Wilderness and Wikipedia!
Grows chaotically
Things crop up without central design or control
Everything is connected
You never know what you might find
You can make an impact
positive or negative
A place where
Many agents at work
Not without rules
a highly interactive world
Rules evolve bottom up
by letting agents exercise freedom
A stimulating place? Hopefully
Thank you
for your time and interest
Harald Hoyer - for the background image
Holger Motzkau for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nobel_Prize_2009-Press_Conference_KVA-30.jpg
Sumeet Moghe, Kesavamurthy, Chandra Sekhar Bundi
Stimulating and spicy!
Large scale collaboration involving mixing and modification by contributors
- something that Copyright Laws do not help in
- the way out is licensing so as to grant certain freedoms to users
started in 2001
evolved, with a lot of rules that were
established by the user community
Licensing - Creative Commons
Verifiability not truth!
- Citations
- Reliable sources
- No "Original Research"
Things you can do

- Seek information
read critically
verify sources
- Make corrections / improvements
- Research and write content
- add photographs that complement content
- add sound recordings
- add video
Enough talking now!
Step 1 - Things to know

- Anonymity vs pseudonymity, IP editor
- Watchlists
- Article history
- Article diffs
- Article talk pages
- Signing and contacting other editors
- Getting around
- Getting help
Step 2 - Things to know

- Wikimedia Commons
- Uploading media
- Media formats
- Licensing
- Geocoding
- Categories
- Adding images in articles
Step 3 - Things to know

- Improving articles
- copy editing
- referencing
- reverting damage

Sir Hans Sloane
Somebody who reads Wikipedia is “rather in the position of a visitor to a public restroom,” says Mr. McHenry, Britannica’s former editor. “It may be obviously dirty, so that he knows to exercise great care, or it may seem fairly clean, so that he may be lulled into a false sense of security. What he certainly does not know is who has used the facilities before him.” One wonders whether people like Mr. McHenry would prefer there to be no public lavatories at all.
– The Economist (April 22, 2006)
(c) http://www.smithsonianjourneys.org/blog/2009/08/31/birds-from-baja/
Boston Public Library (1909) - Wikimedia Commons

Reading Room
Step 4 - Things that can go wrong or annoy you

- Deletions
- Rewrites of your text
- Reverts
- Image removal or replacement in articles
- Tags on the article
- Talk page notices

Subject: [Taxacom] "Why would you waste your time editing Wikipedia?"
From: Doug Yanega
Date: Jul 30, 2008 11:43:02 am
List: edu.ku.nhm.mailman.taxacom
I just received a private communication asking this question. I think
the answer, at least, can be said in public, and I can be fairly

Let's face reality - whatever organism one considers, the number one
link people will get in Google is pretty much going to be the
Wikipedia link (as long as the organism is listed in Wikipedia). Now,
and even more so in the future. Whatever other resources we may
develop on our own, or as a community, I rather suspect Wikipedia
will ALWAYS come out as the first link. As such, I do a greater
public service by working to ensure that Wikipedia contains accurate
information, since more people in the public will see it. I get
dozens of questions a month regarding Jerusalem Crickets and
Solpugids, for example, and it was suggested that I make web pages
about them for our museum's website. I countered that since our
webpages would rarely be visited, while Wikipedia's respective
entries were both the top hits in Google, why waste my time and our
resources to reinvent the wheel when I could simply keep an eye on
the Wikipedia pages and direct people there? It also takes LESS of my
time to help maintain a Wikipedia entry than it does to WRITE one
myself and maintain it.

The standard horror story about Wikipedia is that since anyone can
edit it, that it's full of nonsense edits, falsehoods, urban legends,
and so forth - that vandals, ignoramuses, and fools determine the
content. First off, it isn't true in general, and the "trouble spots"
are not evenly distributed across all segments of Wikipedia
(biological articles seem to have relatively few problems). Things
that aren't legitimate get deleted as fast as they're spotted, which
is generally pretty fast. Other disputes tend to be over matters of
opinion, which Wikipedia policy is structured to avoid (two of the
most important rules are "Neutral Point of View" and "NO Original
Research"). Yes, Wikipedia has rules, and people who break them get
banned all the time - it is not a free-for-all. It operates more like
a ratchet - articles tend to improve steadily over time, but do not
go DOWN in quality over time. Generally, the more editors, the better
the article becomes over time, not worse. I've created hundreds of
articles now (not so many any more), and very very few of them have
not improved since I created them, even if I never personally touched
them again. So, if someone tells you that any effort you expend on
Wikipedia will be UNDONE or corrupted by those who follow you, DON'T
believe it.

It is not a waste of time.


Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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