Wiki Reflection

I was slightly anxious starting this assignment after our class discussing the possible misogyny I might face on the Wikipedia talks pages.  I also prefer to keep my work private rather than post it somewhere that might receive unwanted criticism.  Despite my personal hesitance, I knew exactly the topic on which I wanted to write and exactly where to get my sources.  Idaho Proposition 1 was an anti-LGBT legislation in 1994 that attempted to prohibit city or state government from granting minority status based on ‘behavior.’  For two years a group called Don’t Sign On – eventually renamed No On One – peacefully fought the Idaho Citizens Alliance who pushed the initiative into being.  It’s an important part of Idaho history and was a part of a number of anti-homosexual initiatives that took place in the 1990s through to present day.  I chose this subject because this was the very subject on which I’m creating an exhibit for the Special Archives in the Albertsons Library. I have access to newspapers that aren’t currently digitized – though I am in that process – and was therefore able to provide sources not yet available to the public thanks to a member of No On One who provided them for the Special Collections.



The subject material also fit perfectly into the requirements for both the Wikipedia article and the Boise wiki.  I decided that writing one article that was appropriate for both venues was a bit of a time saver but would also be an interesting experiment on Wikipedia.  While there were a number of separate pages for the anti-LGBT legislation that has occurred over the years, I wanted to see if the Wikipedia editors considered Idaho’s fight for homosexual rights a ‘notable’ enough subject.  I commented on the talk page of “List of US ballot initiatives to repeal LGBT anti-discrimination laws” and they told me that as long as I have the right sources then it was appropriate for the page.[1]  After spending more than the usual amount of time to find the directions to create my own Wikipedia page, I created a sandbox and submitted it for review.  A sandbox, come to find out, does not accomplish much in a short amount of time.  With no movement on the sandbox I decided to risk it and skip a few steps by creating a page and link to the Ballots page.

I checked out the other Proposals pages and copied their simple formatting.  I included the description, the history of the initiative, and some major players.  I told a couple friends I was WikiFamous and sent them the link so they could check out my work for me.  I also reworded the description of Proposition 1 on the Ballots page so that it more accurately reflected the proposition.  Three days later I noticed that my page has been reviewed by ToastyMallows who cleaned up some of the formatting.  With no trouble my page has passed review.  With all the build up, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to create a Wikipedia page that passed muster.  I don’t know if I had an easier time because I created my own page or if it was the completely lack of information on Wikipedia on the topic, but I’m happy I didn’t run into any of the problems people have before.


Boise Wiki

Having chosen a topic that was appropriate for both Wikipedia and the Boise Wiki, I wanted to make sure my original formatting would work for both locations.  Looking over the Boise Wiki I found a lack of information on Boise LGBT rights and therefore a perfect location for my article.  There didn’t seem to be a uniform format for the site so I kept the original from Wikipedia.  I currently don’t have access to digitized photographs to add to the article, but I will eventually add a number of No On One photographs of the events leading up to Election Day for Proposition 1.  The only sources available for the event, unfortunately, are the newspaper articles from Special Collections.  I searched online for sources beyond newspaper but found nothing.  With the lack of diverse articles beyond Idaho newspapers, I had to be aware of the bias presented by the articles as well as the bias of the person who preserved specific articles over others.  Purposefully keeping my descriptions as unbiased as possible, I hoped to present a consensus of information on the topic.


For future authors

Posting on the Internet for others to criticize is unnerving.  Those online purposefully spending their time looking for articles and opinions to critic are often unfriendly.  This assignment, however, brought me out of my comfort zone and forced me to put myself out there for criticism.  The lack of negative reaction, or any reaction for that matter, forced me to realize that posting online is not as difficult as it is described.  My advice for future possible posters is to simply follow the rules.  Wikipedia posts their rules and regulations for posting everywhere through their help topics.  While figuring out the language of Wikipedia is not easy, a small amount of ‘googling’ for helpful videos or walkthroughs will eventually get you posting on Wikipedia.  Having posted an article with reliable sources and information, I am reconsidering a historian’s role in online encyclopedias.  The Boise wiki, especially, deserves the influence of locals with good information.  Local wikis are helpful in a number of different venues and deserve the chance to provide for those living in or visiting the city.  Online encyclopedias and local wikis consist of consensus articles.  I would suggest not using them as sources but I truly believe they provide an appropriate starting point.  Locals, not just historians, should work to create as comprehensive of a wiki as possible.  Providing local insight on food, activities, and history can only serve to promote the area for everyone involved.





[1] The response, “Can you find enough reliable source texts to use to help you write a reasonable-length article on the legislation, covering its full evolution, debate, and effect? If so, go for it. If not, don’t. It’s that simple. All notability means is “is there enough source texts to write a decently complete and indepth article?” –Jayron32 00:01, 15 March 2013 (UTC)”

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