Lets “Talk”, a look at the process of creating a Wikipedia page and the validity of its authors.
The purpose of this assignment is to better understand the process of creating and writing a Wikipedia article. By doing so I plan to determine whether or not I consider the information presented in the article to be reliable given the knowledge I have received from authors like Jenson (2012), Giles (2005) and Van Dijck & Nieborg (2009). The topic of article that I choose to research was on cyber-bullying. I choose this theme because of its relevancy in today’s youth culture. Stories like Amanda Todd’s (2012) and the several teen gay-youth suicide stories touched many lives in 2011. I think that, as the Internet era progresses so will the effects of cyber bullying and Internet users need to become more aware of this issue.
So does Wikipedia do stand up job of giving its users true and valid information on cyber bullying? According to Jenson (2012) “Wikipedia has become the world’s most dominant educational resource for practically all forms of internet-accessible information. It stands all on the electronic frontier.” (pg 1165) But does that mean that is reliable? @bigtuna09 seems to think so. He boasts that his experience with Wikipedia has always been positive, and articles are simple, informative, relevant and unbiased. After doing some further reading of my Wikipedia article I would have to agree. I found this cyber-bullying article very direct and to the point. In terms of my confidence in the level of validity I would say its pretty high. The knockout point for me in determining if Wikipedia was legitimate is the massive list of references given at the bottom of the article. Not to mention the comparison that was done in the Giles (2005) article. The article discusses that Wikipedia’s content may not be so different from these world-renowned encyclopedias. There were number of errors found in both Britannica’s content and Wikipedia’s. Out of the articles reviewed in this study there were 162 misleading quotes in Wikipedia and 123 in Britannica. This research swayed my opinion of Wikipedia into being a completely legitimate source of information. It is a lot quicker to access then an encyclopedia, and has proven to stand up against published authors. These author’s aren’t just adding random trivia, they have done their research and are sharing it with Wiki users. But not everything authors write gets shared remember. It’s up to the Wikipedia editors to deem what is acceptable to be published. This editing process can be viewed on Wikipedia’s “talk” page.
Before doing my research on Wikipedia articles I was unaware of the “talk” feature that all articles pages possess. The “talk” pages are used specifically for the request for editing and discussion about the edits that have been made. There is section at the top of the page outlining the guidelines for the page use also the some general rules of respect to other members. For example, the users need to remain civil to one another; this is not a forum to voice general opinions, only to voice potential editing. There are some disputes between authors but they are done tastefully and in good faith. Which to me makes the page more professional, which adds to its legitimacy. I think that this page is amazing. It really gives users a feel for how the cyber-bullying page gets edited and produced. I believe that it really enhances the validity of the article because in order for the statistic or content to be published it really does need to be juried by all of the readers. If a reader finds a mistake with the published work he or she may request for edit to manipulate what has been said. This really plays on the topics of mass creativity and collaborative culture that are outlined in work done by Van Dijck & Nieborg (2009). From what I gathered with their research they believe that the idea of “co-creation” is now replacing the usual hierarchal model of producer-consumer, and I would agree. I think that we know trust what other people, like ourselves are reading, thinking, and talking about certain topics. I love that anonymous users are allowed to voice how they interpret the topic and the content is somewhat unbiased. Where as reading published articles for say a paper, sometimes only prove on side of an argument.
To conclude I believe that through my analysis of the “talk” page on Wikipedia’s cyber-bullying I would rate this article to be reliable. The information I found not only on the article itself but also discussed within the “talk” page really emphasizes the work and effort put fourth by the authors. You can actually see the editing process taking place; Wikipedia offers its users a sense of transparency, which I find refreshing and honorable. @colecrerar90 and I have basically the same resulting feelings that “Wikipedia is continuing to grow as a reliable source to get information and will only improve in the future.”
I thought this picture was a good representation of the process in creating a Wikipedia article, and the teamwork that is needed. http://www.ltu.se/cms_fs/1.10873!/img/img/andreaslarsson_wordle.jpg
Giles. J. (2005). Special Report: Internet encyclopaedias go head to head. Nature. 438, pp 900-901.
Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182
Van Dijk, J. & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its discontents: a critical analysis of Web 2.0 business manifestos. New Media & Society. 11, 5. pp 855-874.