Assignment 1 Details and Reporting

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Due February 12

For help getting started with Wikipedia see: Wikipedia Help Desk


Because part of this assignment requires looking at edits made after yours, try and start this process a few days before the assignment is due.

  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. Rules: Read the description of Wikipedia's policy and guidelines, so you understand the terminology at work.
  3. Choose a Rule: 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. Ideally, the article you choose should relate in some way to the themes of the class, but this is not required. There are over 4.1 million Wikipedia entries to choose from. You must select an article that features or implements your rule in some way.
  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 or the star icon 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. 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.

  • Write Your Report: By the assignment due date, in addition to the above steps, prepare a report that discusses:
    • The rule you chose: What the rule is, why it matters, how it relates to other rules, and comments on the details/subsections of the rule.
    • The article you chose: What the article is, why you chose it, what edits you made, and if other users made edits in response.
    • Rule for the article: How the rule played out in practice (if it did)
    • Rule for the community: How you think the rule plays a role in maintaining Wikipedia. How does it benefit/harm the Wikipedia community in any way? Why is it important for Wikipedia?

Report, Formatting, & Submission

  • A few, concise paragraphs is suitable for the report. Your submission should be no longer than 1000 words.
  • For this assignment, you may either (1) upload your document as a .txt file (or related readable format, such as .rtf, .doc, and .odt) to the class Wiki following the procedure described on the Assignment 1 Submissions page, or (2) e-mail your submission to We ask that you try to use option (1), and only use option (2) if you are having difficulty with the wiki.
  • Wiki uploads are visible to the public. If you select option (1) and you are using a pseudonym on the wiki, please remember to sign your uploaded document with the same pseudonym.

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 4.1 million entries. As such, it may be difficult to find a completely unexplored topic. 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