Wiki Reflection

When I began to write my articles on both the Boise Wiki and Wikipedia, I took very different steps in selecting topics. On the Boise Wiki, there is so much to write on, to create from scratch. I decided I was going to write on an individual who had provided something to the community. Looking online and through the newspapers, I came across Gene Harris; an individual who created an impact in both the educational and musical scenes in Boise. From that point I noticed no article on the Wiki existed for this famous jazz musician; to be fair Gene was mentioned as having played in the Idanha. I had free reign over the information I would get to put into an article for this man. It made me both excited and nervous. On one hand I get the opportunity to create my own article, on the other I was completely unsure of how it would be accepted in the Wiki community. After having both written the article and posted it to the Wiki, I awaited any potential issues to arise that would bring my article down. None came. At this point I was relieved; my article had managed to make a successful contribution to the Boise Wiki. This represented my first wiki article ever.

Having gained confidence from a successful contribution to the Boise Wiki, I moved onto the daunting task of attempting to make a productive input toward a topic on Wikipedia. Unlike the Boise Wiki were I had chosen a famous individual, in order to choose a topic on Wikipedia a new strategy formed within my mind. I looked at the talk pages on each topic. From that point, I gained an understanding of the scale system used by Wikipedia that gauges the importance of each topic. I did not want to choose a topic that was of high importance, but at the same time I did not want to choose a topic of no importance, with this in mind I came to the conclusion that I would write on a small town I had went to high school in. Glenrock, Wyoming, it had a page with all the basic information within it. It told the current population, the climate and other information like that, but it lacked any true sense of the history of the town. More importantly it lacked the historical sites. Having recently read articles for class on Wikipedia, I made sure my sources were only secondary or local government based. I figured my chances were good to make a successful contribution to Wikipedia. I was right. In total, I added roughly between 300 and 400 words of text to the Glenrock page. After I submitted my edit of the page, I waited for the execution of my contribution. After days of waiting, it never came. I was elated. Not only had I successfully made a contribution to the Boise Wiki, but I had now made an effective contribution to Wikipedia. With this experience came new wisdom.

Having not only submitted both my contributions, but have had them both stay up has made me feel as though they were considered fairly. The process was so incredibly simple, the only technological hurdle I faced was figuring out how to put links and sources into my Wikipedia contribution. To figure that out, I merely looked at how others had done it before me. I submitted the changes I wanted to do on Wikipedia through the talk page before I made them and followed the Wikipedian rules. Taking those steps made contributing to Wikipedia incredibly easy. The advice I would offer to future editors of both the Boise Wiki and Wikipedia is research your topic, follow the rules on the wiki, and communicate with the wiki community. I think if most people follow that simple advice, they will probably find success.

Finally, the last thing I need to address is how I feel about wiki’s now that I have contributed to them. Before I provided any sort of contribution, I always viewed a wiki as source to either get a basic idea on something or gather sources from. Now that I have written for two different wiki’s, I still pretty much feel the same way. It is a great feeling to contribute some knowledge to a large online encyclopedia, but both wikis felt different when I went to contribute to them. Wikipedia, with how large it is I felt like my contribution was small, and it was. The Boise Wiki on the other hand felt more significant to contribute to than Wikipedia did. Being so much smaller, creating a whole page felt like a real contribution; not like on Wikipedia where I just added a relatively small body of text to. I am glad I had this assignment. Without, I seriously doubt I would have added to either online encyclopedia.

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