Week Seven

A Wikipedia Warrior?

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I love sharing new facts and information, so I was very excited that I would have a chance to become a real Wikipedia editor, and get graded for it! I really enjoyed being introduced to the world of Wikipedia through the training modules. I learned a lot, and it gave me a whole new respect for Wikipedia as a company. I am so happy to see that they hold such high standards, and I admire all of the hard work that the Wikipedia community does, all in the name of delivering free information to our world. I have experience in editing a similar Wiki page, TV Tropes, which is dedicated to recognizing and organizing tropes in fiction, mainly in TV (no surprise that I would be an editor there).

Once the information in the modules was introduced to me, everything was very easy to understand. TV Tropes exclusively uses html editing on their site, so I expected that I would use it when editing the main Wikipedia site. I was happily surprised and relieved that I could use a rich text format. Overall, I experienced no problems editing or citing sources. Although I liked the idea of the sandbox, I did not end up using it. I opted to practice my edits privately through Microsoft Word, and then tweak them as needed while on the “edit” page.

As for choosing an article, it didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to edit a page about a vintage television program. I mentioned in my very first blog post that my favorite TV sitcom of all time is Perfect Strangers. I truly enjoy the “culture clash” humor and the classic physical comedy the series is famous for. Being a student interested in media, I had the incredible opportunity to view the unaired pilot episode of the show at the UCLA Film and Television Archive when I visited Los Angeles in June. Bronson Pinchot is also one of my all-time favorite actors. Bronson personally recorded a wonderfully kind and thoughtful video for me via a fun web site called Cameo when I was going through a difficult time. Also, my grandma saw him many years ago in a play, Stones in his Pockets, and in 1988, he visited my mom’s alma mater, Ohio University, to report on a comedy course for Good Morning America (segment starts at 1:30).

When I saw that the Perfect Strangers Wikipedia article had “multiple issues,” I knew I was the right person to help! I made five edits to the article. Each one a different type of contribution.

For my edits, I…
1. Added a photo.
2. Edited text.
3. Added a citation.
4. Added a fact.
5. Removed text AND added a fact with a citation.

Below, I will briefly describe and show the edits I made, along with “before” and “after” photos.

Edit 1: Adding a photo

Another thing I did when I visited Los Angeles in June was locate and take a photo of the building that was used for the exterior shots of Larry and Balki’s apartment building in the first two seasons of the show. There was already a photo of the building posted in the article, but it was taken in 2006, and today, the building looks drastically different. I thought it would be a great idea to update the old photo with a current one that I took myself. I did not need to get permission to use the photo, as it is my own work. I uploaded the photo to Wikimedia Commons, replaced the old photo, and voila! My first Wikipedia edit was complete!

Larry & Balki’s apartment, 2006
My photo of Larry & Balki’s apartment, 2019

Edit 2: Editing text

For my next edit, I added a piece of information to a sentence that was found in it’s already existing source (citation 5), but was written in a different paragraph. I moved the information to the sentence that had the citation, and shortened the sentence where the piece of information had originally been.

Edit 3: Adding a citation

Being a big fan of the show, I knew that the first season never averaged in the Nielsen top 10 for the entire year. This was likely just phrased wrong, but I still wanted to fix it, and add a citation to back it up. I found a newspaper source with the correct information, I rephrased the sentence, and cited it.

Edits #2 and #3 – BEFORE. Text to be changed is underlined in red.
Edits #2 and #3 – AFTER. Edits completed are underlined in green.

Edit 4: Adding a fact:

In looking for good, reputable sources for my citations, I learned something new! I discovered that the final season, which has only 6 episodes, originally was supposed to have 13 episodes! I thought that was a fun fact, so I worked it into an existing sentence and cited it.

Edit 5: Removed text AND added a fact with a citation.

My last edit was also my trickiest one, but I am very glad I did it. There was only one sentence in the entire article that was flagged as needing a citation, so naturally, I set out to find one. I was unsuccessful, and when I realized that the only “source” for this fact was a so-called “industry insider,” I knew that it was questionable. Taking into consideration Wikipedia’s standards, I felt it was necessary to delete this sentence from the article altogether, so I did. Happily, I found another fact, one that is from a good journalistic source, to replace it, which I also did. I also joined two shorter paragraphs together, so that the content flowed better with my addition in place.

Edits #4 and #5 – BEFORE. Text to be changed is underlined in red.
Edits #4 and #5 – AFTER. Edits completed are underlined in green.

I am very proud of my first Wikipedia edits, and I because I enjoyed this experience so much, I know I am going to be doing many more of them in the future. Am I a “Wikipedia warrior?” I’m not entirely sure, but after my first successful round of edits, I sure feel like one!