Wikipedia is one of the largest and most heavily-trafficked websites in the world, and its structure and collaborative model make the world’s knowledge available to anyone. It’s been blamed for killing off encyclopedias, for enabling plagiarists, and for making Internet users intellectually lazy. It has also been called “The greatest work of literature in history.”
Wikipedia is incredibly large, with about 4.5 million articles in just the English-language database.
All this content, power, and promise does not diminish its imbalances, omissions, and controversies. According to one research in 2013, something like 91% of Wikipedia contributors are men. And just visit the “Talk” page for a current event or controversial topic to see how messy it all is under the hood. In this module, you’ll try and do something to make Wikipedia better.
Read all of the articles listed under "Readings" below, and skim through the Wikipedia "Manual of Style." Leave at least two annotations on the readings in the digitalstudies hypothes.is group.
Read at least some of your colleagues' annotations and reply to at least one.
Signup for an account on Wikipedia (feel free to use your real name or a pseudonym) and choose an underrepresented topic on Wikipedia (or a few possibilities) that you know something about and about which you would like to contribute.
In class, we will discuss issues raised in the readings and your annotations, look "under the hood" at how Wikipedia works, and then we will spend time individually or in small groups making edits that improve articles in our areas of interest and expertise.
Complete what you think to be a round of substantive edits on one or more Wikipedia articles. Drop a link and a brief explanation of what you did and why in the #general channel on Slack.
Be sure to do some work on your domain this week. That could involve posting the Wikipedia edits you made (or links to them with some explanation) to your domain. Or if that project doesn't fit your site's theme, you can make other additions/changes/deletions on your site.
We'll take some time to look over each other's Wikipedia edits, using the "View history" feature to compare those edits side-by-side with other version of the article. We'll also discuss the process, any unexpected results, and compare writing on Wikipedia to writing on our own domains.
We'll also introduce activities for Week 8 (Digital Polarization).
Complete your self-assessment for Week 7 and add it to the document you created last week. Be sure to comment on the updates you made to your domain, and include links to your network visualization project and at least some of your annotations/replies.
For materials due Monday and Tuesday, see the Week 8 Guide.