A Canadian Wikipedia Adventure
When contributing to Wikipedia it is always best to stick to what you know. The concept behind the world’s largest online encyclopedia is that everyone has valuable accumulated knowledge that should be shared, on what is essentially a global knowledge base with a fancy title. Writing about what you are unfamiliar with, or something that requires you to conduct research defies this key concept, especially since somebody who is more familiar with the topic could write a better article.
Keeping the aforementioned concept in mind the question becomes, what knowledge area could a New Media Masters student from the Great White North (Canada) contribute to? The answer is ice hockey. Like many Canadians I spend much of my free time watching, playing, and reading about ice hockey. It was with great surprise that I learned that recently signed San Jose Sharks’ goaltender J.P. Anderson did not have an entry in the online encyclopedia, and so started the wonderful journey that is contributing to Wikipedia.
As a novice in terms of contributing to Wikipedia, I started with the tutorial. The majority of the lessons focused on defining what level of notoriety is expected from a published contribution, as well as defining Wikipedia key concepts like “no original research” and ensuring articles remain unbiased. From there I decided to use the article wizard to help develop my article. The beginning of the wizard was much like the tutorial, in that it didn’t provide any interactive practice work, but just more information on acceptable formatting and markup. The payoff is at the end of the article wizard where they give you three options for creating your article, either directly on a live space, a shared sandbox area where you could experiment but everything you write is visible to the public, or a private user sandbox where posts are only visible when you submit them. I chose the private user sandbox area, created a user name, and was off to the races.
Compiling information about J.P. Anderson into a legible article was simple enough, followed by formatting ‘wiki style’, and then the not so quiet process of moving my article to the live Wikipedia space. When you create an article through the private user space, you need to have your article reviewed by an editor and approved, before it will show up in the public space. I submitted my article for review on a Wednesday afternoon, and by Wednesday night (approximately 6 hours later) the submission was put on hold. The article was moved by an editor from my private user workspace, to a “talk workspace” where authors and editors can review, edit, and discuss the validity of an article.
The hold declared that the editor suspected the athlete was not notable enough to currently be included on Wikipedia. It also provided a link to Wikipedia’s “athlete notability article”, and said that if I disagreed I should respond below. I reviewed the notoriety conditions which J.P. Anderson does meet, and found other existing ice hockey players of similar fame and skill level that did have articles. I responded to the editor citing Anderson’s accomplishments and other Wikipedia articles. I also edited my article to ensure a user unfamiliar with ice hockey would be able to comprehend Anderson’s accomplishments thus far.
From there I waited, and approximately 3 days later the article was approved, the hold was removed, and now everybody can learn about a professional junior hockey player from Toronto, Canada who one day might be the starting goaltender for the San Jose Sharks.
Read or contribute to the J.P. Anderson Wikipedia article at: