How to Fix the World in One Keystroke, or Editing Wikipedia.
Many view on-line media, such as Wikipedia, as erroneous because it is on the internet and anyone can edit it. However, the idea behind Wikipedia is that contributors will increase the accuracy of the entries through using and citing scholarly sources. Regardless, the reality is that much of the public (including many college students) relies upon Wikipedia. The scholarly community, therefore, should become actively involved in on-line information exchange, providing content derived from scholarly works, so that decisions made by the public (including museum and government officials) reflect the most accurate data and interpretations available. You will help this process by culling information from scholarly resources and editing Wikipedia pages so that they represent the best knowledge available. Similarly, this is a way for students, who frequently write papers to professors, to have their work “published” in the open. You will change the world- okay, just a little piece of it, but it’s a start.
Goal of the Assignment:
To ensure that selected Wikipedia articles reflect the most accurate interpretations of archaeological and ethnohistoric sources and those sources are correctly referenced.
Details of the Assignment:
For this assignment, you will be working with a partner. You will each be graded on your own contribution, but will work and present as a group.
First, you will need to decide upon a Wikipedia page to edit. Begin with those topics that we have clearly discussed in class (for the first section of class on the “Aztecs” Wikipedia pages to start with might be Teotihuacan, Tenochtitlan, or Aztec). From those pages, check out the other pages that they are linked to. These often include specific sites, parts of sites or cultural practices. You can change any page (large or small, or even add a new one), but you must make the contributions listed below. You will need to submit a page, or a section of a page, that you will be editing.
Types of Changes:
Make changes that
1. increase references to scholarly sources
2. increase the degree to which the entry represents the best scholarship
3. increase clarity of the entry
4. decrease the amount of information that clearly contradicts scholarly works
1. Be careful, do NOT remove anything unless you are sure it is inaccurate or problematic.
5. increase connections with other Wikipedia entries
Before you make any changes:
Register with Wikipedia. In the upper right hand side of the Wikipedia main screen, you will see “Log in/Create Account”- click it. Create a username (different than your email) and password. You are now ready to go. Please submit your username to me, asap. I can only count changes made with this username!
Length of your contribution. That is a tough one, because different pages start at different stages. I expect your contribution to be approximately 1-2 pages (if typed out separately). However, since the assignment is really about increasing accuracy, this is only an estimate.
- Also, before you make any changes, read the following
Wikipedia Resources on Editing:
Wikipedia: The perfect article
Help: Getting Started
Wikipedia: Visual Editor
Wikipedia: Tutorial– all the details you need to know.
Wikipedia: Cheatsheet– a summary of the basics (If you are not using the Visual Editor)
Record your changes.
As long as you make changes using your UserID, they will be recorded in the log associated with the page, but you will also need to report the changes that you have made, so keep a record.
Report your changes.
Please write a short essay justifying how you (as an individual) contributed to the public knowledge of your topic. Be clear about exactly what changes you made (you may should quotes and examples from the Wikipedia page) and WHY you made them. Be sure to record exactly how many citations (footnotes), references, connections to other Wikipedia pages, sentences added, edits made, etc. Essay should be long enough to explain the above.
Present your changes.
You will have approximately 5-7 minutes to present two things to the rest of the class; 1) what changes you made and why, 2) a brief summary of the page (with images!).
You will be assessed on your changes based upon the 5 criteria listed above (under “Types of Changes”). You will be rated, not on the page, but on your changes. That is, unless the page is perfect, you need to add to all five of these components. Although the Wikipedia page itself is the final project, documenting, reporting and justifying your changes is also essential for assessment.
Here’s the rubric that I will use to help me assess your contribution. Note that the rubric does not translate directly into a grade, but provides a mechanism by which I can provide feedback. Note that it is highly unlikely that you can score a “4” (or even a “3”) in every category.
|0- Not Addressed
|1- Poorly Done
|3- Well done
|Increase accuracy (most important)
|Overall, accuracy has little changed
|Relatively few additions increase the overall accuracy of the entry
|Moderate additions that increase the overall accuracy of the entry
|Many more additions and with excellent effect.
|A large number of additions that dramatically increase the overall accuracy of the entry
|References to scholarly resources
|Very few- 1-2
|Editing for increased clarity
|Clarity has either not been addressed or has actually decreased.
|Some editing has been performed but clarity has not been increased.
|Editing has increased clarity in some parts, but other changes either limit or degrade clarity in others
|Editing has increased the clarity of the text substantially
|Editing has dramatically increased the flow and structure of the text.
|Accurate In-text citations to scholarly Resources
(numbers are estimates)
|Average- c. 7
|Good c. 13
|Some erroneous data has been addressed, but this may have had a negative impact.
|Some erroneous data has been addressed, but impact is limited.
|Occurrences of erroneous data have been address to significant effect.
|Multiple occurrences addressed to excellent effect.
|Connections to other Wikipedia entries (less important)
|Abided by Wikipedia Standards
|Yes, but with some mistakes
|Mostly, but with 1-2 mistakes