Thursday, May 5, 2011

Practicum 7 - Eric

I think I had perfect timing with this last post because a few major things have happened in the real world and on Wikipeedia.

1) Osama bin Laden was killed, so as soon as I heard this news I went to Wikipedia and started following the page and its edits. Starting at 21:37 on May 1 there has been one edit to this page every 1-30 minutes, and we're still going strong days after this event. There have been at least 1500 edits to either the main page or the talk page. The most interesting thing to follow actually has been the talk page, because you can see how "civilized" a lot of the Wikipedians are. I would expect the average user to just post any new information on the "Article" tab and leave it at that, but I see a lot of discussion taking place about content before it is actually posted. Since this event, my WatchList has been almost all either Osama bin Laden or Barack Obama.

It's kind of neat that you can follow news in a way on Wikipedia. You can track the most edited articles recently, and we can see that there seems to be no stop to the talk about this global news. Within minutes of the announcement of bin Laden's death I can see that there were already a few requests to have this page Semi-protected to avoid vandalism, and eventually it will become fully protected (so nobody can ever edit it again). This seems like common practice among famous people who have died. The timing of everything on Wikipedia kind of makes me think that some people really do sit on the website looking to "first" edit some of the articles.

2) On a lighter note, Wikipedia now has an announcement about the "Wiknic" event. This is an attempt to bring Wikipedians together in real life and not just on this online community. The date for this event is the same nationally, and for any given city the local citizens are allowed to pick the spot and what sort of events are actually going on. It think it's an interesting plan to try to extend the Wiki community past just the internet and into our real lives with each other, but I can't see this working well unless you're good friends with other local Wikipedians. Personally, the last thing I would want to do is to go to a picnic with random people who all share the interest in editing online articles... The date and event was just recently announced so it's not super popular yet, but feel free to read more about it on its page:

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