Last week as part of my MA in English we had an assignment to edit a Wikipedia page.
I chose William Golding’s The Inheritors. I recently read this for a module and it is really interesting. It deals with some very serious topics including atrocity, genocide and colonization. The first human species (Homo sapiens) actual wipe out the Neanderthals as they fear them and feel they are extremely superior to them. It is also a work of “literature of atrocity” according to Paul Crawford the author of Politics and History in William Golding.
So back to the editing business. My time started out really well- I thought I had this covered. I had practised how to enter text and references so I went about getting on with it. All the time I am tweeting my progress. This can be found at #editwikilit. I was so worried about using Twitter, as I am somewhat new to social media. But this was no problem, as it turned out.
This is the page pre-editing.
However, it actually turned out to be one of the most startling learning cubs of my course so far! And not in a good way. You know that saying – always read the instructions/question and understand it before starting? This was never so truer than during my editing! After I had published, I got a friendly warning and the changes reverted. Oh my God! And it is an assignment! Panik time! Well, ok maybe not quite. I had to stop panicking and actually leave it alone for a few days. So after many walks with my dog Gracie and a lot of thinking I came back to it. Yes, they were right. I just had not read and understood the policies and practices of Wikipedia. I tried to put in ideas and thoughts that were more suitable to an essay, not Wikipedia. So a valuable lesson really learnt on my part – read everything through, take any tutorials available and understand something before commencing. Get help and look things up if need be.
So now I am more than familiar with Wiki policies and guidelines. Although there are no hard and fast rules, there are practices in place. It is an encyclopedia and not a place to discuss themes or other author’s work, however academic it may be. It must always be neutral and publicly verified; it is not a synthesis of work. Although anyone can edit, all editors and contributors should treat each other with respect. These five pillars form the base of Wiki. It is a community platform but best practice is involved. No original research should be included in articles. There are also rules around legalities, enforcement and the deletion of pages.
I think I should have clarified this with myself before starting! Even though I may lose out on grade, I have learnt a valuable lesson. Take time to read and understand first – don’t’ just head in and think you know what it is all about!
I did screen shot my editing, however, and below are the pages with my changes–
So after a lot of walking and thinking, I thought I would have another go at editing a different Wikipedia page. If nothing else it may help ease my bruised ego!
So far this seems okay! I was able to do it, and has not (as yet) been reverted! Hurray !! This is the original page
Information and reference added above