So, I hear you’ve been usingWikipedia…Thinking you might like to havea go at writing or editing somearticles yourself?Perhaps even become a partof the Wikipedia community?
Before you do, there are a fewthings you should know.Don’t worry it won’t take long –just a few minutes is all you’llneed…
What is Wikipedia?• A free, web-based encyclopaedia project.• Articles appearing on Wikipedia are written collaboratively by site users.• In most cases, anyone with Internet access can read, write or edit Wikipedia articles – there is no need to register. (Wikipedia, 2012)
Wikipedia is not alone… Wikipedia is a ‘project’ site of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc (WMF) - a not-for-profit organisation. Its mission is to ‘empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally, free of charge.’ (Wikimedia Foundation, 2012)
Content creation & hosting You are responsible for the information that you upload to the site. WMF merely supplies the infrastructure to host that data. WMF takes no legal responsibility for the information posted. (Wikimedia Foundation¹, 2012) In short, don’t post information you’re unsure about. If you do & get into trouble, you’re on your own!
CopyrightWikipedia wants you to shareinformation.When submitting text that you hold thecopyright for, you agree to license itunder:1. Creative Commons Attribution- ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, and2. GNU Free Documentation License.This may affect how you may use thisinformation in the future. (Wikimedia Foundation¹, 2012)
Copyright Once you have posted information, you cannot revoke the copyright license…You mustattribute or …even if youreference text choose to nothat you use longer usefrom the work the service orof others. your use of the service is terminated.(Wikimedia Foundation¹, 2012)
PrivacyThe WMF collects aminimal amount ofpersonally identifiableinformation to:• enhance the public accountability of the projects.• provide site statistics• solve technical problems (Wikimedia Foundation², 2012)
Privacy Information that can personally identify you may be released in some situations such as: 1. Law enforcement, 2. With your permission, 3. To investigate abuse complaints, vandalism and issues relating to spiders or bots, 4. To protect the rights, property or safety of the WMF, its users or the public. (Wikimedia Foundation², 2012)
To register or not to register… You may create an account using a pseudonym or your real identity. You may also use the service as an unregistered user. Note that your IP address will be published as your author name if you publish content without registering or without being logged in. Your IP address may identify your Internet Service Provider (ISP), school, organisation or home. (Wikimedia Foundation², 2012)
…that is the questionThrough your edits on publiclyavailable pages, you becomesearchable. (Lessig, 1998)The WMF warns that others mayuse your IP address ‘incombination with other information,including editing style andpreferences, to identify an authorcompletely.’ (Wikimedia Foundation², 2012)Thus, privacy may be bettermaintained by becoming aregistered user.
Termination of service – by choice You can choose to leave the Wikipedia community at anytime, BUT… Your user name (or IP address) along with all your publicly made contributions will remain viewable on the site.(Wikimedia Foundation¹, 2012)
Things you mustn’t do Users must not: x Harass or abuse others x Violate the privacy of others x Engage in false statements, impersonation, or fraud x Commit infringement (eg copyright, trademarks) x Misuse services for illegal purposes x Engage in disruptive and illegal misuse of facilities (Wikimedia Foundation¹, 2012)
And STILL more… The five pillars set the scene for a number of policies and guidelines that you may need to familiarise yourself with before using or contributing to Wikipedia. These are created by Wikipedia community members to improve the service. (Wikipedia¹, 2012)
How about a set of steak knives? Well, maybe not steak knives but there is a General Disclaimer that you should also take note of. This clearly states that, ‘WIKIPEDIA MAKES NO GUARANTEE OF VALIDITY’ Content is user generated and no peer review process has been entered into. Users should use their discretion when using information posted onto the site. (Wikipedia², 2012)