A Canadian Wikipedia Adventure

On: October 4, 2010
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About Ronen Shay
Ronen Shay is a doctoral candidate completing his final year of Ph.D. studies in Mass Communication at the University of Florida, under the supervision of Dr. Sylvia Chan-Olmsted. His current research is focused on contemporary challenges in the field of media management and includes papers written on: windowed distribution strategies for substitutive television content, audience perspectives on the perceived quality of pure play distribution, factors affecting tablet adoption, the relationship between social media metrics and brand equity, and factors affecting cable television churn. He has presented his research at the 2013 AEJMC National Conference in Washington D.C., the University of Zurich’s 2014 Evolution of Media Branding Conference, the 2014 AEJMC Southeast Colloquium, the 11th World Media Economics and Management Conference in Rio de Janeiro, and the 2014 AEJMC National Conference in Montreal, Canada. Ronen was awarded the Second Place Student Research Paper (2014) and Third Place Student Research Paper (2013) from the Media Management and Economics division of AEJMC, for his work on social media metrics and brand equity, and windowed distribution strategies respectively. In 2013, he was also an Outstanding International Student Award recipient at the University of Florida, for his academic performance. His accomplishments at the University of Florida are supported by an M.A. in New Media from the University of Amsterdam, and an Honors B.A. in Communications from the University of Toronto. Ronen’s professional experience includes project management roles at Rogers Communications, North by Northeast, and Random Sounds, a freelance concert production service co-founded by Ronen, that successfully served clients in the Greater Toronto Area from 2001-2005. Ronen Shay also holds professional certifications in project management (PMP) and digital communication.

Website
http://www.ronenshay.com    

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J.P._Anderson

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