Assignment 1 Details and Reporting

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For help getting started with Wikipedia see: Help With Wikipedia


  1. Wikipedia: To complete this assignment, you must log in to wikipedia (if you do not have a wikipedia account, you can create one). Note: a wikipedia account is not the same thing as an account for our class wiki. You need both.
  2. Policies: Then, read the description of Wikipedia's policy and guidelines, so you understand the terminology at work.
  3. Choose a Policy: Using the list below, select a policy or guideline that most interests you. Read about it. The goal of this assignment will be to learn about and prepare a report on how these rules function, and play a role in the collective operation of the site.
  4. Choose an Article: After you've chosen one of these policies or guidelines, select a single article to focus on. Below you will find a (non-comprehensive) list of suggested articles to edit and observe. Ideally, the article you choose should relate in some way to the themes of the class, but this is not required. There are over 3.1 million Wikipedia entries to choose from.
  5. Edits: Make substantial edits to the article you have chosen. This means that the edits should be more than cosmetic and should actually enhance the substance of the article.
  6. Watching: Add the article to your "watchlist". From the article page, click on the "watch" tab at the top of the article. You can access your watchlist at any time by clicking on "my watchlist" at the very top of any page.
  7. Report Edits: Report which article you edited, and the nature of your edits below. At the end of your notes, type --~~~~ (two dashes and four tilde's) and the wiki will automatically fill in your name. Note: you must have created an account on our class wiki and be logged in for this to work.
  8. Further Edits & Talk: If changes are made to your article, you may also want to make further edits to go along with those changes. Also be sure to watch the "talk" page on each page, which has discussion from other users about the content on the entry.
  9. Write Your Report: By the assignment due date, prepare a report here that discusses A) the rule you chose, B) which site you observed and the changes you made, C) how this rule played out in practice (if it did), D) how you think this plays a role in maintaining the site, and if it could harm the community on the site in any way.

Report, Formatting, & Submission

  • A few, concise paragraphs is suitable for the report. Your submission should be no longer than 1000 words.
  • Upload your document as a .txt file (or related readable format, such as .rtf, .doc, and .odt) to the class Wiki using the Upload file link to the left. Write your name and link to your document on the Assignment 1 Submissions page.

Target Policies and Guidelines

Choosing an Article

You have several choices in choosing an article.

The most important thing is that you select an article that features the rule that you're looking to explore.

You can choose a topic that is underdeveloped, and add information. Or, you could pick an article that needs substantial cleanup/revision. Wikipedia (English) has 1.6 million entries. As such, it may be difficult to find a completely unexplored topic. Start by browsing the Wikipedia topics that you feel you can best contribute to. Many Wikipedia pages have banners that indicate the article is in need of some specific editing. Banners typically refer to a cleanup categories or controversy. These banners are indexed so that contributors can quickly find pages that are in need of editing.

Assignment 1 Reporting

Assignment 1 Submissions.