Jerz: Writing for the Internet (EL 236)


25 October 2006

Wiki Workshop

A wiki (based on the Hawaiian word for "quick") is a kind of hypertext document that is optimized for quick edits by multiple authors.

Wikipedia is the best-known example of a Wiki, but see also Muppet Wiki or Lostpedia. Maybe there's already a wiki out there on a subject you know a lot about. If so, you are welcome to work with that wiki instead of Wikipedia for today's exercise.

For today's exercise,

1) start by scanning through the Wikipedia tutorial
2) find two or three articles on Wikipedia (or some other wiki, if you wish) on topics that you know a lot about, and improve those articles. You might correct a mistake, add a citation, or put a note that says "citation needed" if you think a claim is unsupported. You might instead choose to start a brand new article.
3) in a few days, go back and see whether anyone else has modified your work.
4) write a blog entry in which you describe what you did and what you found (with links)


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Ex 6: Usability Report

Conduct a usability test of your own website and two peer websites. In a brief memo, report your findings. Present a copy of your report to your peers, and recommend changes to their website. Describe the recommendations you received from peers, and specify what changes you made for the final version of your website.


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It's a Wild Wikipedia World: Seigenthaler; Goodin; Orlowski

Short articles about Wikipedia.

Siegenthaler: A false Wikipedia 'biography'

Goodin: Nature: Wikipedia is Accurate

Orlowsky: Nature mag cooked Wikipedia Study)

An item that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education in June:

Speaking at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania on Friday called “The Hyperlinked Society,” Mr. Wales said that he gets about 10 e-mail messages a week from students who complain that Wikipedia has gotten them into academic hot water. “They say, ‘Please help me. I got an F on my paper because I cited Wikipedia’” and the information turned out to be wrong, he says. But he said he has no sympathy for their plight, noting that he thinks to himself: “For God sake, you’re in college; don’t cite the encyclopedia.”

See also Wikipedia's own entries about the Siegenthaler biography controversy.


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