[Air-l] editing wikipedia

Barry Wellman wellman at chass.utoronto.ca
Tue Feb 27 02:28:27 PST 2007

Please forgive my belated response to the wikipedia editing debate, as I
am abroad (lovely Harrogate, UK) and only on once per day (or less).

I have been actively involved with Wikipedia for about 6 months, and have
found it a good experience. I have been surprised by the accuracy of the
articles (in general), the comprehensiveness of the articles (EB would
never do one on Bronx gangs of the 1950s-1960s), and the activity of
people in monitoring vandalism, sillyness, and fixing bad formats, etc.

It's an interesting mixture of hierarchy and anarchy.

However, I do agree that editing procedures are cumbersome once you want
to put in formatting, references, etc. Moreover, it's hard (for me) to
find the guides for what to do, and when I do, the guides (as for
Referencing) are not as clearly written as I'd like. We need _Wikipedia
for Dummies_!

Having said that, the standard Wikipedia response would be something like,
"Stop complaining. Fix it yourself." Wish I could, but I have neither the
expertise nor the time.

This may be Wikiblasphemy, but I wonder if a core paid staff of clear
technical writers would be useful for preparing such key help tasks.

 Barry Wellman

  Barry Wellman   S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology   NetLab Director
  Centre for Urban & Community Studies          University of Toronto
  455 Spadina Avenue    Toronto Canada M5S 2G8    fax:+1-416-978-7162
  wellman at chass.utoronto.ca  http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman
        for fun: http://chass.utoronto.ca/oldnew/cybertimes.php

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