Wikipedia material ?

On: September 23, 2009
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About Rakesh Kanhai
New Media MA student, All-Round Turntablist DJ, Media Addict, Pro Evolution Soccer and Gears of War Champion of the world, and as of now: a Blogger... Recent theoretical interests : Lessig, Jenkins, Deuze, Gerd Leonhard (Music 2.0), Kevin Kelly and the such... Right now i'm very interested in the 'future' of the Music industry('s), its convergence with other industries and the way artists challenge precarity with creativity in contemporary conditions...


Before this assignment I knew nothing about posting to Wikipedia, I’ve only been a reader. I just found out that it is actually quite difficult to simply add an entry to this online encyclopedia.  In the past I once edited something I didn’t agree to be true, but that was the extent of my involvement. So as a new user I might be able to give an objective impression of the experience…

After I finally found something nobody wrote about in the dutch Wiki site (the life and recent death of the superstar DJ Roc Raida) I stumbled on the difficulties of simply adding a photo to a posting. There is some technical knowledge required for entering a post. I must add that even though I am pretty competent with computers, I had a struggle in getting it right… I immediately wondered what a totally new user would think of this site in terms of openness and accessibility…

30 minutes later I had my first Wikipedia posting ! I finally did it…. Or  at least I thought I did…

Within 15 minutes after posting I received a personal message stating that it has been nominated for removal… My first posting and already a nomination :P !  It also stated that I should not use advertising or plagiarism which I didn’t so it must have been a matter of conventions. I had to change it again or it would be removed.

(I must add that I didn’t read through all the conventions, there are a lot and I am not a big fan of conventions, i’ts supposed to be open right? )

After opening the discussion section I found out that the reason for the nomination was bad translation and the fact that the particular moderator looking at my post did not know if it is suited for wikipedia. It’s not Wikipedia material ?!

I also stumbled on a interesting little fact… since I made the page there has been at least twelve people edtiting and changing it, other people that I don’t know are working to make sure my trivial post stays relevant and conform conventions.  I also noticed that after being nominated for failure  I could defend my post on a discussion page of the ones nominating it as such…

This all seems a little to much work for me… I would like to know how they will keep up with moderation if the site keeps growing and growing…. Will the information pollution not win from the filters? What is my incentive to make sure this wiki posting is considered relevant and true? And moreover what’s the editors incentive to keep filtering crap after crap? ( especially when that crap grows exponentially)

More important to me however is the question what is Wikipedia material ? Who decides when something is or is not suited for this collaborative website, I thought we were supposed to be collaborating….  I feel like my post has been rejected in a quite childish fashion:  “Im sorry youg man, you’re just not Wiki material”

So on the one hand i’ve experienced a rather difficult conventional machine at work and i don’t really see the regular internet user without certain capabilities entering an Wikipedia post, and on the other hand i’m a little weary of the moderators power… It seems to me that the power of the moderators has a negative influence on the power of the users. That doesn’t mean that I don’t see the need for moderation.

I’m not proposing a alternative model without moderation, but I do reckon that there is a delicate balance between keeping it user friendly and assuring its integrity. With increasing power to moderators comes decreasing interest from users.

I don’t really see the need for ‘defending’ the relevance of my post… Sure, I could convince some stranger that it IS Wikipedia material, but what’s in it for me?

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