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The Crowd-sourced Encyclopedia

The Crowd-sourced Encyclopedia

Wikipedia comprises an enormous knowledge base that is constantly being adapted, edited and added to. In order to moderate this knowledge, Wikipedia utilizes a vast number of editors which it relies on to provide information, citations and so on. However, much of the information on Wikipedia is lacking a credible source. It may be that an editor knows some fact about a certain topic and added that, but did not provide any sort of citation or proof of this fact. If one looks at nearly any sizeable Wikipedia page, there will be multiple places where it states “citation needed” after a sentence. So, my first foray into contributing to Wikipedia was adding a citation.

After looking through some missing citations using the Citation Hunt tool, I found a statement on the page about Ambidexterity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambidexterity) about a rugby player Dan Carter who predominantly kicks with his left foot, but occasionally uses his right as well. After doing some quick research, I found a news article from The Telegraph backing up this statement (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/rugby-world-cup/11984780/Dan...). I was then able to use the Visual editor on the Wikipedia page in order to add in this citation to the article itself.

In addition, some pages are lacking in information or need more clarity. Wikipedia keeps a bibliography tracking pages which need attention, which can include clean up, merging, fact-checking, etc. After spending some time looking through these pages, I felt as if I was not enough of an authority on these topics to contribute. However, one topic which I had spent a considerable amount of time looking into in the past is the history of Averill, Vermont.

Upon looking at the Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averill,_Vermont), I discovered that there was not even a section pertaining to the history of the town. So, I edited the source and added a paragraph about the early history of the town and backing it up with citations. On this page, I did not see the option to utilize the Visual editor and so I had to learn the basics of the markup used as the source for Wikipedia. After numerous revisions, I finally came to something which I was satisfied with, and which I would be interested in contributing to in the future.

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1 comment

Hi Kevin, great job with your foray into Wikipedia editing! I have also on occasion had trouble accessing the Wikipedia visual editor. But when I am logged into Wikipedia, it automatically pulls up the Visual Editor when I click on the Edit page for a given topic. Here's the Wikipedia page regarding the Visual Editor in case you want to read more about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:VisualEditor

Also, many students share your feeling that you need to be comfortable with the topic of a page before contributing to it. That's fantastic that you added a history section to the Averill, VT page. I was interested in the stipulation that all pine trees fit for ship masts had to be preserved for that purpose. Did it take a lot of time for you to decide what information to include regarding the abridged history of Averill? Or is there simply not that much out there? 

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