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students Week Six

Wikipedia – Woolsey Fire


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Learning how people contribute to Wikipedia and the process behind editing or adding information to a page has given me a greater respect for the website as a whole. I was taught not to use Wikipedia as a source in the past, specifically in high school, because anybody can edit it and add their own information to pages, and it is therefore not completely reliable. However, it is now clear to me that there is a lengthy process behind adding new information to a Wiki page and that all of it has to be properly sourced.

When brainstorming Wikipedia pages that I could look into editing or adding information to I realized that I do not necessarily have a lot of knowledge regarding one particular topic. So, the deciding process of this assignment was difficult for me. I’ve worked at Starbucks for almost four years, so I looked into their page for quite some time trying to find some details I could edit or update. However, it seemed to me, after reading majority of the Starbucks sections twice, that it was completely up to date and probably too mainstream of a page for me to edit.

Eventually I landed on the Woolsey Fire page which took place in Calabasas and Malibu, California in November of 2018. At that time, I was attending Pepperdine University in Malibu and was living in Calabasas, California, so I experienced this devastating wildfire first hand having been evacuated for 15 days.

I read the entire Woolsey Fire page and found a few mistakes that urged me to find the correct articles with the information I remembered. The first thing that grabbed my attention about this page was the information regarding animal safety during the fires. People living in the Agoura Hills/Calabasas areas were evacuated first, but the fire quickly moved west and all of Malibu was evacuated soon afterwards. At the time, attention from those living in the evacuated areas was quickly turned towards a winery called Malibu Wine Safari. This safari-like wine tour is located in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area where the fire was spreading and many people quickly became concerned about the safety of the many wild animals living at the winery. Thus, Stanley the giraffe, an uncommon visitor to Malibu Wine Safari, became a headline on the news the first day of the fire on November 8th.

A giraffe being in danger in Malibu was not mentioned on the Woolsey Fire Wikipedia page although other animals were, so I decided to make an entry of this and cite it with a popular news article that I remember having read during all the chaos. To do this, I headed to the Woolsey Fire talk page and added my suggested change along with one other addition to a list of celebrities whose houses were among those destructed from the fire.

My suggestion to the Woolsey Fire talk page

After waiting a full 24-hours for a response on the talk page, I checked back to see that no comments had been made. Therefore, I published the two changes I submitted to the talk page on the morning of February 27 and began to wait again.

After another 24-hours I checked back into my edited Wikipedia page and was happy to find both of my edits still there! I honestly was not expecting my Malibu Wine Safari comment about the giraffe to be reverted considering the first submission listed the animals to have been located at “Malibu Wines” and not “Malibu Wine Safari” which is coherently incorrect. My submission including Caitlyn Jenner to the list of celebrities whose homes were destructed was less important of a change to me, but still made the cut which I am pleased about.

Both of my Wikipedia edits are visible in the bottom two paragraphs

As an overall experience I would rank this one as a good one. The training modules from Wiki Education were not as time consuming as I would have expected and full of helpful information. If I were to have skipped the training modules, I would have found myself completely lost and confused regarding the Wikipedia editing process. Although I did not utilize all of the editing skills that I learned about, I think that this editing process was lengthy enough, having taken me over three days to complete, and a useful skill to have had practiced in a classroom setting. All in all, I am happy to have a better understanding of what goes into editing a Wikipedia page. As I have mentioned before, I have a newfound respect for the website and all of the effort that goes into adding or editing information. It is a much more reliable source than I was lead to believe and am happy to have a better understanding of the layouts of all the pages and the easily accessible sources listed at the bottom of every page.

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