Week Six

Becoming a Wikipedia Editor

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

As someone who spends the vast majority of their waking time engaged on the internet in some capacity, I am also an avid user of Wikipedia. The rest of the world also seems to rely heavily on Wikipedia, as it’s the second most visited site in the US, with higher traffic than even Facebook and Amazon.

While Wikipedia is a staple in my online habits, I’ve never really considered editing an article before.  While I enjoy learning and consider myself knowledgable on many subjects, the idea of contributing to Wikipedia has been a bit intimidating. When I saw that we would be required to edit an article and document the experience for this course, I was both excited to learn and also a bit nervous.

I found the Wikipedia training modules to be very helpful in learning to navigate the platform. The tutorials, in particular, were useful in teaching best practices for editing.

Once I felt I had a thorough understanding of Wikipedia’s policies and how to contribute to an article, I started my search for a notable topic that I was familiar with but had an underdeveloped page. After researching a few options, I decided on my hometown’s Wikipedia page — Clermont, Florida.

My brief post to the “talk” page detailing my editing plans

Scrolling through the page, I noticed that the “places” section of the article lacked information on the downtown area, as well as a historic village that’s a part of the city. Once I decided that I would contribute a few sentences expanding on this, I went over to the “talk” page and shared my plan for the edits. I wasn’t surprised to see that my post did not receive a response, as the “talk” page did not seem to be active.

Once I had posted up my plan and gathered my sources, I composed a few short sentences on the downtown area and historic village to add to the page. You can see the edits I made, which are still active, in the image below.

The first two paragraphs of the “places” section detail my edits

Overall, contributing to a Wikipedia page was a relatively smooth and uneventful process. Because I chose a page that does not seem to be regularly edited, I did not receive any pushback from other users. After learning the ins and outs of the editing process, however, I can see how adding content to a more popular page can be a rigorous, collaborative process.