Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Unpleasant Wikipedia Experience

Please, don't get me wrong; I love Wikipedia, but...

I wanted to create a simple, (and factual) page on Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia.

Guess what, after a few days, and fustrated "wasted" hours, I left (running in a manner of speaking).

It was not because the technology was hard to use. The software is state of the Art. It was not because there were "il-logical" or unreasonable editors, I read many, many reasonable editors. I left because I found no source of accountability. How does an "open-edited" Encyclopedia make sound policy changes? After reading precise, critical commentary with detailed suggestions, I felt hopeless...what was the point? If the editorial board could not agree with informed, reasonable, factual editors...what contributions could I hope to make?

This is what I left on the Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia talk: Article titles

Is Wikipedia Academic?

I ask the group, is Wikipedia academic or educational? I ask because I am using my local Community College Computer, and the rules state that they (the computers) are not to be used for "chat(ting)," but for academic (or Educational) purposes.

Please, don't take offense. I enjoy the "community" spirit of discussing or creating policy, I applaud group "editing" efforts, but really...

[I will use my humor here...]
Question: What is "Edu-entertainment?"
Answer: An Encycolpedia that doesn't care about facts, research, primary sources, or the author's (or artist's) intent.

I wrote this response when I read an editor [In: Wikipedia talk: Article Titles] who suggested that the Encyclopedia and its editors respect the "factual" presentation of the Author. [For example, copy the text the way it was published by the Author]. A few editors opposed this view, writing that the "common" voice or common view-point was important. I agree. On an "educational" page, both a factual, and "popular culture" viewpoint can exist; in fact, it is "educational" when the writers discuss how the original text (or name of a character) has changed (and, if there is a reason, why). I was concerned when the other editors did not agree. In my mind, an Encyclopedia should respect factual information.

I thought about it a lot. I myself had problems submitting a "People of Color" page. When the editors decided to delete my page, I asked several detailed questions, and did not get a response. Although the editors were polite, they did not respond to my questions, and deleted my work (which took hours to write and document).

So, I'm writing my own "Off-Wikipedia" Blog here.

Democracy...a Work In Progress

My English professor in college said (I will paraphase)...The effects of the French Revolution are still being felt today.

In my opinion, the experimentation in democracy is still occuring. Somedays, I think of George Orwell's book 1984, and I am convinced...if the American people were allowed...they would vote to remove the "Bill of Rights" or, (an equally depressing thought), their ancestors would have never voted for the Bill of Rights which is apart of the United States Constitution.

Did the founding fathers trick us when they didn't leave the wording of the document (The U.S Constitution) or it's meaning up to an editing by concensus board? What would The United States Constitution be like if anyone could edit it? Could you imagine, how many times the Bill of Rights would have been edited, or erased. Did you know, (according to Wikipedia) there are now documents that Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia, does not protect [from public editing]...but once did.

Later in my blog, I will recreate my original (intended to be 5-8 paragraphs, factual, and well documentated) "People of Color" Page, with pictures.

For now, I will share the suggestions I made (my pseudonym is C-Ritah) to the Wikipedia board, although I felt like working (writing and collecting information) was a waste of my time.

My Advice to Wikipedia:

Consider Cross-Linking Information. Did you know that one of the "revolutionary" benifits of using a computer is that you can cross-link information (related articles...that are similar, but present information from different perspectives).

For Example.

Consider two colors (black and white).

I am using my Dictionary as my primary source.



On one Wikipedia page, the article would present information about "Colors" based upon the "Scientific" study of Light.

The definition from this perspective would look like:


Black - 1) The achromatic object color of least lightness characteristically perceived to belong to objects that neither reflect nor transmit light. 2). Total or nearly total absence of light.

White: 1) The achomatic object color of greatest lightness characteristically perceived to belong to objects that reflect diffusely nearly all incident energy throughout the visible spectrum.

This page would be "Cross-Linked" with another (similar) page, also called "Colors"


This page would present Information about Colors from an Industral or "Everyday" Perspective.

The definitions from this perspective would look like:

Black - 1). A black pigment or dye. 2) Of or relating to a group or race characterized by dark pigmentation.

White - 1) A white colored product (as flour, sugar or [My insert: white paint, or white pigment].
2) Being a member of a group or race characterized by reduced pigmentation.

This page would be "cross-linked" with another, similar page which could be called "Colors"


This page would present information about Colors as found (or defined) "symbolically" in Western Literature.

The definition from this perspective would look like:

Black: - 1) Soiled, dirty
2) Thourghly evil, wicked. 3) Gloomy, Calamitious.

White: 1) Marked by upright fairness, free from spot or blemish. 2) Innocent 3) Not intended to cause harm (such as a white lie or white magic).

These pages could be "Cross-Linked" with a similar pages such as:

"Colors" as defined or used "Symbolically" in Eastern Literature

"Colors" as defined or used "symbolically" in African Culture and Literature

"Colors" as defined or used "symbolically" in Latin Literature....

My point: I don't think articles with similar (or the same) title is (necessarily) the problem.

I think an electronic (factual) Encyclopedia that supports "electronic-links," and "cross-linked" information would create effective, and unique information layouts.

...can you believe they had a help section (on the Wikipedia site) under Technical Information: Editing articles of such length that you can't edit them.

[ If you are interested in what I consider to be both a factual and educational Wikipedia article, consider visiting this link: ]

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