Lecture 24: Wiki Writing Dr. Jessica Laccetti ALES 204 - 2012
Outline• Wikis & Wikipedia• Example: A Million Penguins• Code• Assignment• Homework
• A wiki (wɪki/ wik-ee) is a website that allows the creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor.• Wikis are typically powered by wiki software and are often used collaboratively by multiple users.
Wikis• Ward Cunningham, the developer of the first wiki software, WikiWikiWeb, originally described it as "the simplest online database that could possibly work.”• "Wiki" (pronounced [ˈwiti] or [ˈviti]) is a Hawaiian word meaning "fast" or "quick".
Wikipedia• Wikipedia was formally launched on 15 January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger• Wales set one up and put it online on 10 January 2001
Revision History• Wikis are generally designed with the philosophy of making it easy to correct mistakes, rather than making it difficult to make them• Though wikis are very open, they provide a means to verify the validity of recent additions to the body of pages
Recent Changes• a specific list numbering recent edits, or a list of edits made within a given time frame• Some wikis can filter the list to remove minor edits and edits made by automatic importing scripts ("bots")• the revision history shows previous page versions and the diff feature highlights the changes between two revisions• Using the revision history, an editor can view and restore a previous version of the article.
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.
Revision History• In case unacceptable edits are missed on the "recent changes" page, some wiki engines provide additional content control.• It can be monitored to ensure that a page, or a set of pages, keeps its quality. A person willing to maintain pages will be warned of modifications to the pages, allowing him or her to verify the validity of new editions quickly. A watchlist is a common implementation of this.• Some wikis also implement "patrolled revisions," in which editors with the requisite credentials can mark some edits as not vandalism. A "flagged revisions" system can prevent edits from going live until they have been reviewed.
Credibility?• Critics of publicly editable wiki systems argue that these systems could be easily tampered with, while proponents argue that the community of users can catch malicious content and correct it. Lars Aronsson, a data systems specialist says:
Credibility• High editorial standards in medicine have led to the idea of expert-moderated wikis.• Some wikis allow one to link to specific versions of articles, which has been useful to the scientific community, in that expert peer reviewers could analyse articles, improve them and provide links to the trusted version of that article.• Beth Simone Noveck:"participants are accredited by members of the wikicommunity, who have a vested interest in preservingthe quality of the work product, on the basis of their ongoing participation."• On controversial topics that have been subject to disruptive editing, a wiki may restrict editing to registered users.
• In February 2007, Penguin Books and De Montfort University launched ―A Million Penguins,‖ a collaborative novel open to anyone who wanted to help write it.• The novel was to be created on MediaWiki, the same software as Wikipedia, with a similar ethos of collective authoring but the added spice of a risky experiment in the heartland of commercial publishing.• Can a community write a novel?‖ asked Penguin Digital Publisher Jeremy Ettinghausen
A Million Penguins• Required users to register in order to edit.• A team from DMU and Penguin Books actively moderated the content.• Contributors given free reign.
Background – statistics• In just 5 weeks – Nearly 1,500 registered for the site. – Over 11,000 edits. – 75,000 visitors to site. – 280,000+ page views.• Since then another 500,000+ page views
Types of Contributors• The Performer• The Vandal• The Gardener
Performer• Frequent edits• Dramatic self- portrayal• Preferentially edits text that s/he creates• Moulds work to suit her/his ideas
Vandal• Note: vandalism on Wikipedia is prohibited• Add, remove or change content in a DELIBERATE attempt to sabotage the quality/integrity of Wikipedia – Add irrelevant obscenities, crude humor, blanking pages and/or inserting obvious nonsense (see Wikipedia)• Can result in being blocked
Gardener• Frequent contributions• Focuses on organising and correcting• Usually edits in the user pages rather than public talk pages
Code :: Wiki Markup• You can format your text by using wiki markup.• This consists of normal characters like asterisks, single quotes or equal signs which have a special function in the wiki, sometimes depending on their position.• For example, to format a word in italics, you include it in quotation marks: this.
Read more on mediawiki.org: http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Formatting
Assignment• In this assignment, each student will update one "stub," or incomplete article in Wikipedia, to a complete encyclopedic article• Caveats to keep in mind for this assignment: – You will need to learn some basic wiki code. The code is not difficult, and there is a graphical editor with buttons to insert links and the like. – Others can (and will) alter your contribution. In most cases, other users will add to and occasionally correct your work. But your work could be vandalized or deleted. You can always change the page back to what it was before, but such "revert wars" are frowned upon. – The entire Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, which means you do not own the articles you work on. – There is no standard length for a Wikipedia article. For the purposes of this assignment, a reasonable article will contain 300-600 words, which correspond to 1.5-3 pages of standard double-space text.• Part 1: Select a stub (needs to be done BEFORE your lab)• Read the Wikipedia Getting Started page.• Create an account• Find a "stub" that you would like to complete to a full article. Here is a list of stubs. Particular stub categories that may be of interest include Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic disease stubs and the Alberta Research Council stub.
Assignment• Note: When you register with Wikipedia, it is a good idea to use EITHER your twitter alias or your real name (if you choose) so that I (along with the Tas) can track your contributions.• DUE: 5:00pm on Friday (11th Nov.)• Students must include a link to their Wikipedia article and blog post as a comment on the post for Module 10 on the class blog.• Note: this Wikipedia Assignment forms part of your E-Portfolio.
Homework• Choose your stub entry READY to work on during your lab this week• ONLINE class on Wednesday so you have another opportunity to work on your Wikipedia assignment!