I was going to share an update about my Wikipedia bullet journal today and then decided: nope, I have something bigger to talk about. As I continue to evolve this blog into my passions, I have realized that no bloggers are talking about Wikipedia. Nobody really seems to focus on how they use it, how the edit it, how it fits into their jobs, or anything like that. That is, aside from blog from Wikipedia and the Wikimedia foundation. They have some lovely things to say, but it feels so very internal. It’s like they are preaching to the choir. Yet, we all use it and typically every day.
Why not talk about Wikipedia?
I have become obsessed with why bloggers aren’t talking about Wikipedia. I think they are two different universes of virtual activity, but maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. I am going to start talking about my experiences editing Wikipedia, the projects I am working on, things I am learning, and adventures related to it.
How Did I Get Started Editing?
I have spent over 10 years editing Wikipedia. I haven’t been an active editor that entire time. In fact, my activity has increased in the last 3 years. I created my account and started playing with editing while I still worked at Fitchburg State University (then just a college). I saw the students using something new to do research for papers. I had to check it out and was fascinated by what I found.
The idea that an encyclopedia is not new. The idea that information should be freely available is not new. Wikipedia appeared to be a perfect storm of free information, anarchy, democracy, and collective knowledge. I live with the reality that information isn’t free yet, but I knew Wikipedia was going to be a huge step forward. I created my account and played around with my account.
Sidetracked By Research
I didn’t have the time to play as an editor for a long time. This was mostly because I was far more engaged in being a researcher. I was working on a masters degree and needed a thesis topic and I turned to Wikipedia to do that. I spent years looking at conflict resolution on entries. It kept me from editing, but that changed once I was done with my research and focused on programming and planning events at UMass Lowell. Suddenly I had to learn more about editing to make sense of everything else I was doing.
That is how I first got involved in Wikipedia. Since then I have been getting increasingly involved in more than just editing. That process will be the topic of future posts. Until then, in the comments, tell me your favorite way to use Wikipedia!