Wikipedia Hands-On Project: Charlotte Brontë

In addition to allergy awareness, one of the subjects I’m passionate about is the Brontë family. Jane Eyre has been on my top 5 favorites list since I was 14 and I have written countless papers on the three Brontë sisters (much to the bemusement of my professors). To my surprise, the “Charlotte Brontë” article on Wikipedia is only a C-class according to the Article Finder tool, so I decided to contribute to that one for this assignment.

Firstly, I went through the Wikipedia training modules to prepare myself. Although I’ve browsed Wikipedia for years and even tried my hand at contributing to American Girl doll articles back in the day, I didn’t realize that so much went into the Wikipedia process. I learned about how to easily cite my work and what kind of citations were appropriate as well as the more technical side of things, such as signing my name in the “Talk” pages with “~~~~”.

After making some Sandbox edits, I was thrown out into the great big Wiki world. I read through my chosen article, looking for places that could use some improvement. There were actually several, and I intend to go back to them after this course is over. But in the end, I chose to expand upon an interesting fact that had been alluded to in the opening paragraph of the article and then abandoned:

I remembered reading about this in a recent biography of Charlotte by Claire Harman, so I went back to my copy and refreshed my memory of the events. To my surprise, the biography hadn’t been cited anywhere in the article, though the author had been given a brief shoutout.

I posted a message on the Talk page detailing my editing plans:

Nobody had responded a day later and it was such a quiet Talk page that I doubted I would get a response no matter how long I left it up, so I decided to go ahead and make the edit:

My final edit included changing the heading of the section from “Brussels” to “Brussels and Haworth” and adding the entire bottom paragraph starting with “After returning to Haworth…”. I also added a citation for the exact pages in the book that I used. As of this writing, the contribution is still on the page.

Overall, I very much enjoyed my Wikipedia experience. I was originally apprehensive about the assignment, thinking it might be confusing or stressful. But once I ‘d chosen a topic I cared about, my attitude changed and I began to have fun. There’s a real sense of accomplishment knowing that the words I wrote on this topic could give people a better understanding of such an important author. Additionally, going through this process gave me  a much better appreciation for the volunteers that work on Wikipedia every single day. I would recommend trying this yourself if you have a subject you know a lot about and want to make the internet just a little bit better.

Until next time,