Assignment 1 Submissions

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  • 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

--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 submission.

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.

--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.

--Lizbdavis 20:03, 8 February 2010 (UTC)



Mike Barker: Mike's Response To Assignment 1.


Rohit Chopra | Assignment 1 [[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.

--Erin Golden 09:30, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

  • Nathaniel Gill - Assignment 1

In doing this assignment I focused on the Wikipedia policy of [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 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 [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. --nattyg 15:36, 9 February 2010 (UTC)



Ken Brady | Assignment 1 [[2]]


Kate Aurigemma Assignment 1: [[3]] (Kaurigem 18:49, 9 February 2010 (UTC))


Timothy Sandusky Assignment 1


My Wikipedia editing efforts have focused on wiki pages addressing Transactional Distance [[4]] 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.


--Charlesscott 05:21, 9 February 2010 (UTC)