Difference between revisions of "Assignment 1 Submissions"

From Technologies of Politics and Control
Jump to navigation Jump to search
(Replacing page with '*Name:')
Line 1: Line 1:
*Name:Vigdís Gudjohnsen
Wikipedia (NPOV)
I pikced the policy of Neutral point of View (NPOV) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NPOV] for my assignment.
According to Wikipedia the Neutral point of view policy (NPOV) is a fundamental principle and a cornerstone of Wikipedia.
The neutral point of view policy recommends that ‘’all articles should be written without bias, representing all views fairly’’ It also states that articles should describe, represent, and characterize all the disputes within a topic. the articles may contain critical evaluations of particular viewpoints based on reliable sources, but the text explaining sourced criticism must avoid taking sides.
A neutral point of view to me  indicates fairness and caution. In my opinion it is safe to say that the majority of the Wikipedia articles are neutral/fair.
The articles are created by the Wiki-comunity, thousands of people from all over the world with different backgrounds and international perspective on the subjects contribute to these forever incomplete and continually changing articles.
Although the (NPOV) policy states that all articles should be written without bias, pre-existing bias can exist on Wiki articles. bias statement only violates the policy when it is presented as the truth or a fact. It does not violate the policy when it is presented as an identifiable point of view. There is a project called the Countering Systemic bias task (CSBT) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Countering_systemic_bias]- this task contains a list of articles that are in need of a more fair perspective.
I choose the article on Google China [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_China]to observe and edit. I added information on how many companies where attacked by the hackers and gave examples of companies, I also added what type of information was targeted.
‘’the  company’s investigation into te attack showed that at least 34 other company’s had been similaly targeted.Amongst te company’s that where attacked where: Adobe, Symantec, Yahoo, Northrop Grumman and Dow Chemical.Experts claim te aim of te attacks where to gain information on wheapon system information on political dissidents and also sought valuable source code that powers software applications’’
Unfortunately the policy I choose has not played out in practice. I have had no responce to my edit.
I believe that the Neutral point of view policy is the right term for Wikipedia. The Neutral Policy encourages its contributors to not engage in disputes and expressing all viewpoints with an appropriate tone - this can be done behind the articles on the talk pages.
The Wiki-community seems to be committed to being unbias, fair and play by the rules.
When browsing trough articles on Wikipedia, I can honestly say that I was impressed both with the quality  on te articles and to see that the NPOV policy really seems to play out in the articles.
* Name: Maria Paparrigopoulou
The wikipedia page I have been working on, in the light of the policy “neutral point of view” (NPOV), is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_neutrality, under the user name Mpap.
Studying the policies and guidelines conditioning Wikipedia, I chose the one of “neutral point of view” which, along with “verifiability” and “no original research” is “one of the three core content policies of Wikipedia” and also one of it’s five “pillars”.
Given the nature of Wikipedia, whose creators, administrators and editors, claim to be that of an encyclopedia, I find it absolutely natural and substantial, for that matter, to aim for articles written under the spectrum of neutrality. An encyclopedia, by definition, is “a comprehensive written compendium holding information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclopedia. Therefore, personal opinions are not “permitted” in the body of an article. However, during my first, recent experience as an “editor” of Wikipedia, I realised that anyone is free to express their opinion and even discuss about an article and the improvements that need to be made, in the “discussion or talk page”. 
Furthermore, there is a provision by Wikipedia itself, which is called an “essay” where an editor’s essay may differ from a user’s essay referring to the purpose intended and the viewpoint represented  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_essays.
In addition, there is also the POVs (Points of view) that as mentioned in a Wikipedia’s essay  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Describing_points_of_view, “are often essential to articles which treat controversial subjects” as is the one discoursed/dealt with in the article of my choice.
Besides, if someone wants to express strictly personal opinions or thoughts or advertise themselves, no one forbids them to create a blog or a site.
In this assignment, at first, I tried to inform my “fellow editors” about a legislative development concerning “network neutrality” in the borders of the European Union. On that ground I made an edit in the discussion-talk page of the above article waiting to see if anyone had something to say about it. A day after, and since no one commented on my edit in the discussion page, I supplemented a paragraph in the article, under the title “Law in the European Union”. My edit was strictly “neutral” and was restricted to the announcement and the insertion of the latest amendments of European Directives pertaining to the article.
The specific article is characterised as a “debate” rather than an encyclopaedic article, which, combined to it’s classification as a controversial article, means that it involves a lot of re-editing or edit warring or biases, causing it to be opposed to the policy of “neutral point of view”.
Moreover, the fact that the above article is, in my opinion, one of not a very frequent activity, raises the question of how Wikipedia’s control mechanisms apply. Or is it that if an article is classified as “controversial” or “in need of cleanup” Wikipedia just leaves those articles be as they are?
In conclusion, my personal opinion is that it is really difficult, while editing an article in Wikipedia, to completely detach oneself from personal opinions or thoughts, it is however of great importance to Wikipedia’s nature to keep it’s neutrality if wanting to be perceived as an “encyclopedia”.
Nevertheless, Wikipedia is a useful “starting point” for a research, should not be though, the only source nor the basis of it, keeping in mind it’s true nature and it’s advantages and disadvantages and giving it the proper consideration. For that reason Wikipedia itself displays the issues surfaced after it’s operation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Wikipedia, so that anyone using Wikipedia can judge for himself or herself the significance and the verifiability of it’s content.__[[User:Maria paparrigopoulou|maria paparrigopoulou]] 21:35, 9 February 2010 (UTC)           
*Name: Theodoros Kolovos
I chose to contribute on the wiki page about Cultural Policies of the European Union (version before changes: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cultural_policies_of_the_European_Union&oldid=333047374). This is a subject i am familiar with and would like to associate with my final project. Therefore, the data gathered through the habit of continuously updating the wiki may contribute towards my understanding on the subject, and the nontraditional approach i should adopt for studying the content layer of the internet. Another reason for choosing this page was the strong luck of content it presented, giving me the space to extensively expand the article.
After comparing the rules of wikipedia with the article it seemed that there was no significant breach of terms related to the neutral point of view policy on the existing text (only minor obeisant expressions signifying that the text was copied from a webpage for the promotion of cultural policies, perhaps the website of the european union) however the data presented were in many cases confusing, irrelevant with the subject and incomplete, classifying partly as an original research article. I decided to keep only text that had the potential of expansion after re-categorizing and re-positioning it. The introduction did not explain or analyze the meaning of the terminology appearing on the title so I enhanced it by breaking the subject on a basic encyclopedic level clarifying where the actual term derives from and what it stands for. I have also chose to develop a language flow that makes the article broadly accessible, avoiding assumptions and terms that are not fully explained either on the page or through a wiki or other link.
After conducting a brief research on cultural policy-making in the EU, I categorized the information found to factual and critical and distributed it accordingly. Factual information derived from data gathered by official webpages and papers (institutions, organizations and bodies) whilst critical information originated from academic writing, essays and articles available online. I continued by evaluating the core structure of the wiki and how the authors categorized the subject. It seemed an incoherent following of information that led me on deleting most parts of its structure text. The subject is part of a social development happening now. A diachronic classification was missing. I decided to re-build the contents of the page following a historical timeline starting from the origins of EU policy making and concluding with criticism reflecting the future effect of what has already happened:
1. The history and development of cultural policy-making
2. The strategy and methods that have been adopted
3. The institutions and bodies currently operating
4. Which policies exist by sector (Arts, Sports, Language)
5. The impact of cultural policies (European identity, urban regeneration, expansion of the European Union and rising criticism)
The more time i spent with the wiki page, the further i could continue categorizing the subject.
Internet based research is not easy as true facts are difficult to find. It was easier to find knowledge and opinion-based data than the actual data that articles or essays were referring to or were based on (laws,budgets,decision reports, conference notes). It became obvious to me that unlike historic non-current facts, the more one approaches today when researching the internet the less it is possible to filter effectively the information available. Neutrality of the resource material (current media articles, speeches,academic books) is difficult to establish. It is also often coming across data that constantly change or update. If this neutrality is impossible to detect, perhaps the best solution is to publish a combination of opposing opinions or the full time-based developing of an issue (this needs a constant watch on the issue and a parallel wiki update) Another important observation i made was that when establishing factual information for shifting issues the approach can only be a qualitative one as quantitative information is very often unavailable. This is important as it might be significant for defying the role of the developing information economy and its audience. When knowledge is not a necessity reality understanding may shift from fact establishing to simple currency observation.
The information added on the wiki might not be complete however its structure and new references clarify the subject following a rational line that allows users to begin conversation over content. I intend to continue research on the subject and updating the wiki, and look forward on reactions, conversations and editing from other users. To follow please visit the updated wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_policies_of_the_European_Union
--[[User:Thodoris|tc]] 20:13, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
* Name: Paul Amant
The Wikipedia article I chose to use for this assignment is One Laptop Per Child
(OLPC) .  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OLPC) My wikipedia username is Paul in NH.  In
keeping with you preference for brevity, I have only included relevant detail in my
When reviewing and contributing to the OLPC article the rule I chose to keep in mind
was a “Neutral Point of View”. The topic I chose to review is called One Laptop Per
Child (OLPC). The focus of OLPC is developing nations where education leaves a
great deal to be desired.  I found the information already posted to be helpful, well
written and unbiased.  The links were very useful.  One of the links led me to a You
Tube page where Nicholas Negroponte was filmed giving a speech.  This video
changed my ideas about OLPC.  This exercise is my first exposure to Wikipedia as
both a contributor and a consumer.
My contribution to this article is based on the premise that OLPC should not be
limited to developing nations but should include all nations.  Not only should the
United States be part of the OLPC, but it should be made a priority.  The idea the
charity should begin at home is noble but does not necessarily represent a NPOV
nor does the idea that the US should be a priority and were therefore not part of my
contribution.  It was much more difficult than I anticipated to stay neutral.
As I researched more about the OLPC initiative I came across two articles that point
out OLPC will now support the US. Some believe the economic downturn forced this
change but Negroponte, cited other factors. Basically he suggested that it was
patriotic, would help further his mission in developing countries by creating a critical
mass, and it would allow all over the world to share ideas and communicate. He also
talked about how US sales would help underwrite costs in developing countries.  I
added a section with this information to the article and I also added a cite to the
reference web page. 
A Neutral Point of View (NPOV) is essential to the success of Wikipedia. If you allow
bias’s to be posted, cited, and commented on in Wikipedia, it would no longer be an
on line encyclopedia. It would simply become a huge chat room. Traditional printed
encyclopedias have a NPOV. Personally, I believe the OLPC’s actions were
financially and politically motivated, but would not be a Neutral Point of View and
couldn’t be part of the wiki.
To date, no one has commented or added to the section I created.  I reviewed
several disputes centering around NPOV.  One in particular caught my attention.  It
is related to Anti-Communism.  The basic objection seems to be there were not
enough citations or sources.  It is clear from the Talk Page that contributors have
strong feelings about this subject.  Most comments were negative but this should
help the author create a better, more balanced article.
Yes, a NPOV helps Wikipedia grow and is an important tenant of Wikipedia. I don’t
believe it does any harm. It helps keep the community focus on verifiable facts and
reality and not opinion, rumor, or supposition.  The rules and guidelines of behavior
are critical success factors as they relate to Wikipedia.  Each has its own importance
and together represent a sound foundation for collaborative research and reporting.
I may have ventured into Pandora’s Box, but I chose to edit the living person biography of Rayful Edmond http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayful_Edmond observing the No Original Research policy. Trying to edit or even create a biography of a living person is under very intense collaboration with the Wikipedia community. These articles must adhere to United States laws that apply and must be neutral in point of view, verifiable, and cannot be the opinion of the Wikipedian. This protocol is obviously in place in an effort not to upset the continuity of the living person’s life and protect the integrity of Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation.
To avoid a citation/violation from an Administrator, one must substantiate the materials with valid documented sources/references. I have found you can cite most any source/reference with the exception of a blog. Source referencing is broken down into three categories: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary. The sources I cited on the Edmond article were all secondary – information from second-hand accounts derived from primary sources. Rayful Edmond’s article was somewhat under developed in my opinion. I have followed Edmond on and off for years and after review, I came to this conclusion about his Wikipedia article. However, the information I know about Edmond fell beyond the confines of the parameters of No Original Research policy because I could not find sources of validity.
In an effort to fully understand my chosen policy, I have taken my assignment one step further by creating an article on a living person not presently on Wikipedia. I created an article on The Honorable L. Todd Burke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._Todd_Burke. The citations/violations I received from Wikipedia for creating this article are as follows: This article may not meet the notability guideline for biographies. Please help to establish notability by adding reliable, secondary sources about the topic. If notability cannot be established, the article is likely to be merged, redirected, or deleted. (February 2010); This biography of a living person does not cite any references or sources. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living people that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately. (February 2010). Although I did receive these citations, the article, fortunately, did not get deleted. In addition, I followed the methodology for sourcing by obtaining primary sources directly from Judge Burke and secondary sources from Internet publications.
I am very new to the Wikipedia family and although I did not receive any citations/violations on my editing process of the Rayful Edmond article but did receive them from the article I created from ground zero, I gained priceless insight into the governance aspect of Wikipedia as it relates to the No Original Research Policy.
In addition and in my opinion, I have found Wikipedia’s structural hierarchy relates directly to Yochai Benkler’s model of the Internet but perhaps with an ever so slight variance. The variance seems to be in the governance of Wikipedia because it ties directly back to the users, the select group of Administrators in charge preserving and maintaining continuity.
Finally. The No Original Research Policy poses no eminent harm to the community. However it could get a little "dicey" because the debates still remains over the accuracy of information. This is a loophole in which someone could really become litigious and challenge the information. Accurate or not, Wikipedia still remains one of the most used cites on the Internet today.
--Indira1966 19:05, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
* Name: David Jodoin
My Wikipedia work was focused on contribution to the wiki page on VoIP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_over_Internet_Protocol.  I selected this wiki as I have done a significant amount of work related to next generation voice networks and have designed and developed solutions in this industry.  My edits were primarily NPOV edits to the Fax handling section of the wiki and the discussion of T.38 faxing over UDP vs. IP vs. analog.  I selected this section as I found the section needed citations for some of the statements made by prior authors.  I specifically added a couple of references and re-edited some of the language to be less opinionated and more factual from an objective point of view.
Specifically I found some of the language to be somewhat whimsical as the author attempted to act as an authority on the topic, yet I found some of the statements made were either anecdotal in nature and not backed by any rigorous research.  In addition, statements were made which belied the authors biases toward the topic and sounded immature; making me wonder how old the person was who wrote it.
I experimented with my entries to see if something comes up on my watch-list for this topic by in some cases deleting entire sentences of prior writers statements in favor of my own.  I also used an online shopping mart as one reference to see if the reference itself would be disallowed due to it being commercial in nature.  I am anxious to see the result of these two edits.  Of course when providing citations in other areas that needed it, I relied on actual RFCs or academic based definitions for factual representation.
The neutral point of view (NPOV) stance within Wikipedia is a critical component of creating trusted information.  There will always be opinions that will be expressed or reflected by various authors, however, with peer review combined with NPOV the information that at first may seem opinionated can indeed be of value in helping guide the NPOV results of follow on editors.  Without the threat of having your submission removed due to non NPOV content, I would think Wikipedia would revert into an endless see of contradictions, rants and rave with authors in chaotic conflict never progressing toward a useful result.
For instance, I could easily state that T.38 faxing is by no means a true replacement for traditional fax over copper lines, and my opinion is universally shared by those who use it or implement it.  However, in doing so, I am not exposing the underlying problem in that T.38 faxing is a means to accommodate legacy fax machines using a transmission standard that is long out of date.  In fact I could go on to say that an entirely new era of technology needs to be developed that answers the call to solve the same problem that faxing does, but in a different way.  But due to the enormous amounts of these machines which exist in the marketplace, that is an evolutionary transformation that will only be slowed by our continued attempts of keeping a dying technology alive.  If we continue to support faxing in general, we might as well revive the 8track tape or the laser disc.
I wonder what kind of discussions would ensue if I posted that on the wiki.  Maybe I will if I don't get comments on what edits I did post.
--[[User:Lunatixcoder|Lunatixcoder]] 15:47, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
*Liz Davis - Response to Assignment 1
I chose to focus on the Wikipedia rule of "Neutral Point of View." I edited the article on Creative Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_commons. This article included a banner requesting that the lead section be expanded. According to Wikipedia the lead of an article should both introduce and summarize the content of the article. I expanded on one of the paragraphs and added an additional paragraph introducing and summarizing the article below.
In the process of expanding the lead, I focused on ensuring that all of my information was referenced with verifiable sources. I used the book "The Public Domain" by James Boyle as one of my sources and the Creative Commons website as the other source. I tried to keep my own opinions and experiences, except where I could back those up with external sources, out of the article. However, I did push the limits a bit with these two sentences, "An easy to understand one-page explanation of rights, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons License. This simplicity distinguishes Creative Commons from an all rights reserved copyright."  I was curious to see if another editor might find these statements too opinionated and thus not from a "Neutral Point of View."
At the time of writing this, there have been no significant changes to my revisions. Someone did go in and hack the page briefly by adding the line "hossein esmaili is a good." One minute later this line was removed. There have been some very minor changes to my page since my edit, fixes to my spacing, but no content has been changed or edited. I'm not sure if I should assume from this that my edits were acceptable or that no one has taken the time to look it over and make any substantial changes. Also, the banner requesting revision to the lead is still there. I'm not sure who takes that down, or how that will be affected by the changes that I made to the introduction.
I think the rule of "Neutral Point of View" is essential to the effectiveness of Wikipedia as a source. Editors should strive to be objective when adding content to Wikipedia. There are other venues for subjectivity. Consumers of information on Wikipedia are looking for unbiased, referenced general information about a variety of topics. The NPV helps ensure a fair and balanced representation of information.
For the most part the Neutral Point of View can only help maintain Wikipedia as a reliable source of information. Any encyclopedia reader would hope to find un-opinionated resources on wikipedia. However, neutral can be difficult to pin down. Even encyclopedias can appear biased when you look back on an entry. For example an article on the Women's movement written in 1950, might seem biased to someone reading it today. This rule could harm the community if it is viewed as too restrictive and thus prevents people from adding information. These rules definitely slowed me down in making changes. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
--[[User:Lizbdavis|Lizbdavis]] 20:03, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
'''Mike Barker:''' [[Mike's Response To Assignment 1]].
[[User:Gkorodi]]'s : [[GabesResponseToAssignment1|Response to Assignment 1]]
'''Rohit Chopra''' | Assignment 1
*Erin Golden: Assignment 1
I decided to begin with Wikipedia's "No Original Research" policy, which quickly led into Verifiability:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Verifiability, as a response to my longstanding perception of Wikipedia as unreliable and the particular challenge I found in becoming a Wikipedia editor. My past experience has largely involved my own analyses of literary texts, so it was both refreshing and daunting that the site officially did not want my, or anyone else's, un-self-published opinion. Wikipedia treats articles on living persons even more stringently under No Original Research to avoid libel or otherwise giving offense, so I selected http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Flewelling (as user Edolen), regarding a living author whose work I enjoy and with whom I have had considerable contact through the years.
I first discovered a very brief entry with two banners at the top proclaiming the need for additional citations. When I looked at the "discussion" section of the page the only things present were the same two banners. The article included only two citations: one link to another author's review of Ms. Flewelling's work, and another to a blog post by Ms. Flewelling projecting the date of her next book release, with no references for any biographical information. The biography section included one broken internal link (to Ms. Flewelling's husband, who does not have his own Wiki article), and some information I either didn't recognize or thought was not specific enough (e.g. Ms. Flewelling is not officially listed as faculty on the University of Redlands website, although she does conduct lectures and workshops at the school). I changed the section to be more in accord with Ms. Flewelling's official website and cited it. Trying not to run afoul of the Wiki ownership and edit warring guidelines I left structure and phrasing alone where I could, to edit instead of completely re-write. I also added numerous citations to the Writings section, including convention appearances, praise from other authors, and a film update, and expanded the note on queer themes to reflect heightened reader and scholarly interest.
I was not as thorough in reworking and adding to the article as I would have liked in order to comply with No Original Research. For instance, I know Ms. Flewelling was a guest of honour at every ConBust (a science fiction convention) since its inception in 2003 because I personally arranged her original appearance and have met with her there every following year; however, the official Smith College-hosted website for the convention only mentioned 2009-10 when I visited it, so I was unable to present the full history. Neither did I include a fuller picture of Ms. Flewelling's family and religious life, her feelings about her books and readers' responses to them, her thoughts on queer issues in and outside her work, or her stances on academic treatment of "genre fiction" or e-book piracy, all of which would add greatly to a biographical piece and can be found (and cited) throughout her contributions to her Yahoo! group and her blog because of the Wiki restriction on "using the subject as a self-published source." I was already uncomfortable with the number of outside reviews I could only find as pages on her official website, including an author-given exerpt from a yet-to-be-released scholastic anthology and a short piece from a relatively obscure magazine I could not locate in print. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons#Reliable_sources, Wikipedia limits using the subject's self-publications but bans all such other sources: "Never use self-published books, zines, websites, forums, blogs or tweets as sources for material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject . . . Posts left by readers are never acceptable as sources"; therefore I did not use reviews from various fan sites or Amazon reader reviews. I found small exerpts from reccomendations by non-self-published authors on the Random House page for purchasing one of the books (cited in article) and on the printed novels themselves, but I was unable to locate the full reviews.
So far no other user has edited my work, but the banners remain at the top of the main page. The discussion link now opens to a declaration that the article is a "stub": short and unfinished. I received a welcome note from a Wiki administrator after opening my account and editing the article, but no direct commentary on what I wrote. For an example of a more complete biographical article on a living person I visited the page for George R. R. Martin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_R._R._Martin), one of the writers I referenced in the Flewelling article. It was much longer and rounded-out, and the discussion page classified it as B-Class. Therefore I was surprised to check the page's references and see many of the citations were to Martin's self-published website, or to self-published fan sites. It made me question how seriously Wikipedia editors and administrators take the site's official policies, and whether my article would have received a higher rating had I been more liberal in my attributes. Ultimately, in my perspective, this places the reliability of Wikipedia articles, whether about living persons or other subjects, back in the dubious place from which I'd hoped this project would at least partially rescue it. I will continue to use the site, as a reader and sometime-editor, but I am disappointed it does not live up to its own credibility standards, which I believe will continue to hurt it in the public eye.
--[[User:Erin Golden|Erin Golden]] 09:30, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
*Nathaniel Gill - Assignment 1
In doing this assignment I focused on the Wikipedia policy of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research No Original Research]] because like most people all you hear is that Wikipedia is an unreliable miasma of user edited information, gossip, and opinion. While this may be true, there are in fact citations that one should check as with any research. As is oft quoted "Caveat Emptor", which any intelligent person applies to more than just consumer goods. With that in mind I was fascinated by the number of articles that did not have citations attached, after clicking the link for a random article which was labeled as such I started doing some preliminary research online just to see if I could amalgamate some sources for one of these sad little articles. I was rather amused to find that the whole process was much more difficult than I thought. Firstly it's become infinitely harder to research anything on the web as there is a junk link, advertisement, and misdirection all over the place. This is a small stumbling block, but when one has a very set routine to approach the web as merely a user/consumer of information, it's odd to find yourself looking for more concrete information than simply locations/hours/services via [http://www.google.com/ Google]. Also, having been out of practice with web editing, particularly using actual programming language. I have become complacent in push button web publishing so it was nice to have a refresher course on actually using my brain.
That being said I came across an entry on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tazir Tazir, or Ta'zir]] which is a concept in Islamic law. I read it, it was classified as a stub, and that it was. It's abbreviated entry was confusingly written and without sources. I did some low level googling and came up with a few sources to use to help flesh it out. I expanded and clarified the definition, inserting links to other related concepts and their source pages. There have been no follow up edits nor talk responses to my re-write and source submissions which is positive feedback in and of itself I suppose. Though it could also be that according to the log I'm the only one to stumble across the entry since 2006. I would have spent more time on the research and added more sources and such if I didn't keep losing myself in ADD-fueled internet tangents on a variety of related topics. That being said I feel like the Encyclopedia Britannica, Islamic Studies department at Oxford, and Comparative Law Studies pages are fairly decent level sources to cite. It all goes back to the principle of Wikipedia relying on verifiability for entries, not proof.
This reinforced my opinion that Wikipedia is a great tool for researchers looking for a starting point. As someone who has always been taught to not believe everything you read wiki is great for beginning a research project, wasting time, going on informational daydreams, etc. It's never going to be source material which it fairly states upfront. The problems as usual with systems, lie in operator error. Information is information, it exists, if you can verify it, grand, Wiki keeps the entry. As they say though, it's not for original research so you will never find unequivocal proof here, rather, you will find reporting of information that has been found and the citations to follow up with it as you see fit according to your needs and wants. As such I think this makes Wikipedia both incredibly benign, and horrifically dangerous. It's benign because of course the information exists out on the web for anyone to find if they just know where to look. Dangerous because one should never underestimate the ability of ignorant individuals to willfully misinterpret, or fear information. Stupidity is catching and easily transferred to soundbites and with the misdirection and constant stream of information from "news" sources harm can always be done with information. As always, Caveat Emptor.
--[[User:Nattyg|nattyg]] 15:36, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
'''Ken Brady''' | Assignment 1
'''Kate Aurigemma'''  Assignment 1:
[[http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/is2011/Image:Wiki3.doc]]  ([[User:Kaurigem|Kaurigem]] 18:49, 9 February 2010 (UTC))
[[Timothy Sandusky Assignment 1]]
My Wikipedia editing efforts have focused on wiki pages addressing Transactional Distance [[https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Transactional_distance]] and Distance Education. The topic area of my Master’s thesis is the relationship between Transactional Distance and learning outcomes in Distance Education, specifically on-line learning. I felt I had sufficient expertise in the area to be able to provide objective and verifiable editorial additions to the pages.
My editing focused on [[Verifiability]]. By Wikipedia’s own definition "the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truthwhat counts is whether readers can verify that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source”. The policy also requires a citation or reference for any material that is “challenged or likely to be challenged”. All quotations must have a citation as well. Consequences of not citing are removal of posts and edits. I fully support the policy that all references must be verifiable.
The [[Transactional Distance]] page had a banner stating the page was an orphan and needed to have more links to other articles. Which to me was code for; this page lacks verifiability. The page consisted of a few lines defining Transactional Distance, two external links and one reference. The reference was to Michael G. Moore, who first formulated the theory of transactional distance. The links were to ''The American Journal of Distance Education'' and the ''Cyber Slang Online Encyclopedia''. The encyclopedia expanded a little on Moore’s theory. The AJDE link was to a lone AJDE home page describing the goals of the journal.
I kept half of the first sentence of the original transactional distance definition, posted a more workable definition, with examples, and positioned the importance of transactional distance in Distance Education best practices. I added references to articles that studied transactional distance, and included names of additional Distance Education journals that could be searched for transactional distance studies.  As of this writing I have had no reaction to my edits, nor am I expecting any soon. Transactional Distance is not a research area where investigators are likely to source Wikipedia. However, given the mandate that all information, on all pages is to be verifiable, it is incumbent upon page authors and editors to provide citations and references. The goal is information accuracy. Anything less is harmful to the community.
Because Transactional Distance and Distance Education are so interrelated I accessed the Wikipedia Distance Education page. The page, while having a number of relevant citations and references, was somewhat naïve in its explaining/defining Distance Education, and provided a very pedantic history of the subject, beginning in 1728. Interesting enough, but not the kind of information anyone researching the subject in the 21st Century would find meaningful. Recognizing I should be limiting myself to one article, I still did a couple of minor edits to the page. I removed the outdated reference to andragogy as an educational focus of Distance Education and introduced pedagogical best practices as the overarching function of teaching in the reference section.
The Distance Education page credits the US Department of Agriculture for its definition of distance education. The DoA may offer distance education courses, and may have published a definition of distance education, and therefore be verifiable; however, in the context of Distance Education, the source does not appear credible. I suggest not only does a page have to have verifiable information; the verification source has to be credible to the topic. To date I have had no reaction to my edits on the Distance Education page.
Maintaining the verifiability of the two sites I edited requires both a time commitment and a certain depth of knowledge of the subject matter. The lack of content management at both sites speaks to a lack of commitment to keep the sites up-to-date with current, relevant and verifiable information. However, the paucity of information at the sites may also be a result of intellectually recognizing the need for verification, but not being willing to put the time and effort into verification.
As an End Note: I am disappointed with the Wikipedia I discovered after drilling deep into its goals, policies and guidelines. Before this exercise I regarded any information from Wikipedia as suspect, as to origin and verification. After my research I believe sincere efforts are being made to verify information; and am now convinced that the strength of Wikipedia lies in its processes, not its end product – information. Wikipedia has created an efficacious and structured form of governance by the people, for the people.
However, if Wikipedia is to be the collaborative community of concerned citizens collectively compiling the “sum of all human knowledge into a Web-based, free content encyclopedia” it must leverage this proven process to provide enterprise wide, accurate, verifiable and timely information.
As a global model for verifiable information aggregation and dissemination - they are not there yet. And, I have doubts that they ever will be. However, as a decision making model - it has applications across the Web.
--[[User:Charlesscott|Charlesscott]] 05:21, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I chose to focus my research on Wikipedia’s Neutral Point of View (NPOV) principle.  To test this policy, I contributed to articles on topics I am knowledgeable about, and admittedly biased.  As a professional animal rights activist, I chose to focus on subjects like “veganism”, “Brookstone” (a company that has come under fire for selling dwarf frogs in tiny tanks called Frog-o-Spheres), and most prominently “fur farming.”
As I quickly learned, picking my actual name for a username was a fatal, if careless, error.  Before I even finished my tenth edit, I got a strongly-worded email from a co-worker and fellow activist, named Bob.  While we’ve rarely spoken in person, Bob apparently watches several of the articles that I made edits to, and recognized me immediately.
In his emails, Bob warned that I should have chosen a username that isn’t my own, because “the edits [I was] making are in conflict of interest since [I] work for PETA.”  He stressed that not only did the changes I made not add to the article, but they were sourced in a way that suggested I was biased.  Specifically, I added a line on the “fur farming” page stating that “Young people, in particular, have been outspoken in their opposition to fur farmingoften in support of peta2 (PETA’s youth division.)”  I supported this claim by linking to a PETA Web page with more than 130,000 petition signatures from young people against the fur industry.  As Bob pointed out, Wikipedia editors do not consider PETA Websites to be neutral sources, and my claim that “Young people are outspoken” is nearly impossible to measure or quantify.
My statement was also in direct contradiction to the NPOV policy, which stipulates that edits should not sympathize with nor disparage the article subject.  By claiming, without unbiased sources, that young people oppose fur farming, I was unfairly disparaging the industry.  At the very least, I should have credited my source in the statement, by asserting that “PETA argues that young people, in particular, are turning away from the fur industry.”  So while Bob didn’t personally take the edits I made down, he warned that they were likely to disappear soon.
To my surprise though, the majority of my edits have not yet been removedincluding the “fur farming” claims, which are now four days old.  This is the inherent challenge the Wikipedia community faces; with some 1.6 million articles to monitor, putting their admirable principles into practice is easier said than done.  Even with dedicated individuals like Bob keeping an eye on others, the sheer volume of tendentious edits made on the site may simply be beyond control.
--[[User:RyanHuling|RyanHuling]] 21:16, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
* '''Nick Siemaska'''--Assignment #1
As a critic of independent music, I am very interested in the way music groups are portrayed in their Wikipedia article that describes them. Often times I feel that the independent bands, more than mainstream bands, have Wikipedia articles that are more favorable to them because there is not a large enough group to counter the information they or their fans provide. For this reason, I chose to focus on Wikipedia’s Neutral Point of View (NPOV) policy.  I searched through several bands Wikipedia entries to find one that had concerns on the articles NPOV. I chose the band Passion Pit, whose Wikipedia entry was flagged with a banner for inappropriate tone within the article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passion_Pit
I began my editing when I noticed that within the paragraph of the formation of the band, there were many redundancies and grammatical errors. But upon further investigation, I found that there were complete inaccuracies with what was written compared to what was cited. I completely rewrote this paragraph and made the information clearer than it previously had been. I did this by citing several credible online sources to confirm my corrections.
The second paragraph was dedicated the first album released by Passion Pit, called Manners. After researching the citations and other information that I gathered on the release, I filled out the paragraph to include a more in-depth portrayal of this subject matter. Also, as I had suspected with most smaller, independent bands, Passion Pit cited no critical reviews of their album, even though there were by several serious authorities on the subject. The New York Times wrote of the bands album with a candor that was not presented in any light within the entire Passion Pit article. So an in effort to make the tone of the article more neutral, I added the negative criticism of their album.
The changes I made in the article have yet to be commented on or further revised by another Wikipedia member. Because music is so personal and subjective in the first place, I feel like there will be some effort to take down the information I have displayed, or encourage more critical responses to the album that have, up until my edits, gone unpublished in the Wiki article.
Edits to musicians’ Wiki articles may seem trivial, and by relative terms to what’s out there, it might be. But on the other hand, thousands and thousands of people search for information on up and coming artists everyday and Wikipedia has the ability to sway these peoples opinions on whether they will buy their album, go to their shows, and further distribute the idea and narrative of a band they think they know. This is a great tool in that sense, that is, if it is fair and balanced. If the article is unfairly admiring or unfairly critical, then the point of view is tilted, and in the end this will negatively affect artists at every level.
It might seem obvious that with music, the listener decides on what is good and not good. But we must all know by now, that that is far from the truth. People will believe what they read, so they need the opportunity to choose for themselves. This should apply to everything, from voting for a candidate in government office to choosing music in a now saturated market. As a music critic myself, I feel that Wikipedia articles on musicians and bands are very important to establish a reputable way of disseminating information on every kind of artist there is out there. 
--[[User:Nsiemaska|Nsiemaska]] 01:29, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
* '''Heather Hagni'''--Assignment #1
Wikipedia’s “No Original Research” rule interested me the most.  It makes sense that, since it is a site in which anyone can add, edit, or delete pages, Wikipedia can only contain already-published ideas.  This helps ensure accuracy and valid cross-referencing.  The “No Original Research Rule” is a logical rule with positive effects.
I chose to add a brief description of the Pepsi Refresh Project (which is essentially an internet collaboration experiment) to the “Marketing” section of the Pepsi page. 
In an effort to further explain this collective action strategy, I created Pepsi Refresh Project page.  To avoid publishing original research, I only included information found on the Refresh Everything website and cited it accordingly.  I would have liked to have included the reasons why Pepsi is using the project as a marketing strategysuch as the tremendous value in learning what ideas people think are cool, are positive about, and vote for.  Because that information can then be used to develop marketing ideas for Pepsi products, the grants are not just grants, they are investments.  Other advantages of this project include publicity and that Pepsi Co is now associated with good deeds as well as grant opportunities.  This Pepsi Refresh Project might associate Pepsi with positive thoughts in potential consumers’ minds.  However, as true as that may be, those reasons were never published on the Refresh Everything website, or anywhere else.  For that reason, explaining Pepsi’s motivations for the project would have gone against Wikipedia’s rule of “No Original Research”.
After creating the Pepsi Refresh Project page, I inserted a hyperlink to that page into the summary on the Pepsi page.
Interestingly enough, even after focusing on the “No Original Research” rule, the Pepsi Refresh Project article I published was promptly deleted.  However, it was not deleted for violation of that rule.  The reason for deletion was that the article was considered to be “unambiguous advertising”, which is not allowed under Wikipedia guidelines.  So, instead of focusing on the “No Original Research” rule, I took a look at the guideline, “Wikipedia is Not a Means of Promotion”, and thought that shortening the article to include simple facts only may go over better with the Wiki community.  The “Unambiguous Advertising” problem was no longer an issue, but it was once again deleted (by the same admin).  The reason this time was for “No Indication of Importance”.  The short paragraph I added to the main Pepsi page was then also deleted, and there was no documented reason.  I wrote a message to the user that deleted both additions asking why they were deleted and how I can improve, but I have not heard back.
I find it very interesting and very frustrating that volunteer administrators can delete a Wikipedia entry and provide no reason.  This is a problem for Wikipedia: in Wikipedia’s own article about itself, it has been noted that Wikipedia is often “criticized for failing to accommodate inexperienced users.[102]” and that a study was performed “finding that over 50% of all the edits are done by just .7% of the users (at the time: 524 people).”  If this is true, it seems that Wikipedia is not what it appears to be.  If only administrators have the power to delete pages, then not just anyone can add content to Wikipedia (and have it last for more than a few minutes).  If only administrators can choose what stays on Wikipedia and produce almost all of the articles and edits themselves, then it seems that the rule I first focused on, “No Original Content”, is not actually needed.  In other words, because administrators are the only ones with power, and because they can apparently delete articles without reason, many rules are then no longer needed for the functionality of Wikipedia.
--[[User:Hnhagni|Hnhagni]] 21:28, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
* '''Matthew Gladney'''--Assignment #1
I decided I would test Wikipedia's rule on no original research by editing the entry page on the dot-com bubble. This entry got my attention because I studied Economics in my undergrad and had written a paper analyzing George Soros' theories on finance. While there are many reasons why, Soros' work is somewhat on the obscure side of financial theory, but blends well with more recent behavioral economic research, and goes a long way to both explain and justify the psychological elements of a boom-bust cycle.
The Wikipedia entry is a poor commentary on the behavioral economic aspects of the dot-com bubble, and its subsequent crash - it very briefly mentions some of the factors, but fails to explain their relevance, nor does it really explain the activity of the boom-bust cycle well. The entry states what happened, but does not explain how these activities could have impacted the financial system to such a degree. I felt my summary of Soros' theory, which has been published and republished, thus in my mind establishing its validity as a source, could greatly enhance the overall quality of the piece - if the reader could better understand the theory behind a boom-bust cycle, then they could better understand the consequences of the activity described in the Wikipedia entry. I was careful to maintain a neutral point of view, not arguing Soros' case, but simply explaining his theory. I felt my entry provided a necessary frame work, into which readers could then apply the events and actions recalled in the entry.
In addition to this added material, I also made some minor edits to the section prior to mine entry, correcting some improper words, and allowing for an improved flow.
My entry, however, was completely removed by a user within a day, stating he believed my material to be "a copy-paste from another page." I attempted to contact the  user to try to get some suggestions on how to better incorporate my entry. After all, I did not want to undo his undo and start an ownership war. I have yet to hear from him, though, and wonder if I will. As far as I can tell, he has not edited the dot-com boom page before, which leaves me wondering why he cares at all. I do feel, however, that my contribution does have merit and, if perhaps reworked in some fashion, be more obvious in the enhancements it provides.
I feel that my initial rule, that of no original research, has great merit, and can keep Wikipedia from being a forum for self-endorsement. I suppose it does have a twin threat, though. More obscure, but valid and useful, research could be dismissed, hampering the improved quality of the entry. Also, it gives editors, such as my 'undo-er', the ability to remove contributions summarizing research based on their own lack of knowledge.
[[User:Mgladney|Mgladney]] 22:30, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
* Ankur Sharma -- Assignment 1
My Wikipedia work was focused towards contributing to wiki article on “Dot Com bubble” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble. I chose NPV (Neutral point of view) rule for my contribution to the article. Without restructuring the main format of the article I attempted to contribute in the exiting framework of “Table of Contents”. The reason I decided to pick NPV rule was because I was looking for the possibility of triggering edits or comments based on difference of opinions or challenges to my posts.
My comments or edits to the article are original and based on my personal experience or observations of “Dot Com bubble”. At the same time I was trying to make sure that my comments truly reflect the unbiased and unambiguous information to a potential reader of the wiki, who could be looking for some key points about the subject.
This is my first time when I am actually editing Wikipedia thus while approaching the article I have attempted to contribute my comments in 2 main categories :-
1) Generic updates reflecting opinion
2) Specific comments pointing to quantifiable metrics using example
I am going to watch if my approach through these 2 categories triggers any edits in a particular way to the article. Since this is a very vast subject and generic comments can be open to interpretations in different ways depending upon one’s approach thus I have tried to limit my generic comments so that I do not dilute the value of the information in the article and wikipedia continues to be reliable source of information.
I went back the following day to look if there were any comments, corrections or updates to my edits but I did not find any. Don’t know whether it looks just fine and is acceptable or it has not yet been reviewed by anybody. I shall continue to look for any reaction that my comments might draw
As end note all that I would like to say is that I am pretty impressed with the overall model of Wikipedia particularly because it empowers experts to share their knowledge in a collective way to create a valuable centralized source of information. It does pose a challenge for moderators but if managed and executed well, this can be a very powerful source.
--[[User:Ankursh|Ankursh]] 02:53, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Revision as of 22:25, 22 November 2010

  • Name: