<CPOV> UvA students create new Wikipedia entries and blog about it

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Wed Oct 6 16:43:15 CEST 2010


> It is interesting to peruse through the blogs, but I'd be interested  
> in a big picture reflection. In reading the various entries this was  
> not new to some and alienating (e.g., deletion and rules), etc. So  
> I'm left wondering about the balance such as of those who never  
> edited WP before, how many would bother to try to edit it again?

Out of the 55 or so students only 2 or 3 had ever edited a Wikipedia  
page. Mind you, these are new media students.... they do not have  
technical issues. After a training session it was relatively easy for  
them to figure out how to create a new entry, the formatting etc.  
Despite some frustrating experiences the overall response was positive.

I am always surprised how few young people contribute to Wikipedia.  
They all use it, but it doesn't cross their mind to change or add  
something. Why is that? Same with most academics. They complain a lot  
about Wikipedia but we never take up the initiave to make that small  
step to edit an entry. I would say, this is due to culture. I believe  
that changing (and creating) Wikipedia entries should be part of every  
school cirriculum. Not all these changes will remain. But that's not  
the point.

The actual percentage of students that will continue to add to  
Wikipedia will be quite low. Maybe 10%?

The Ortega curve, if I may call it like that, should be of great  
concern for us all. The initial response of the Wikimedia Foundation  
and some individual Wikipedians to the stagnation of editor numbers  
etc. was one of initial denial. Maybe understandable but not very  
clever on the long run. The inclusion of Wikipedia in courses like  
these is one of possibly many ways to break out of the current threat  
of social closure.

Yours, Geert




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