Something unexpected...Again!

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To understand a little better (well to understand at all) the process that goes into creating and editing a Wikipedia article, I dug around the page dedicated to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I consider myself a decent fan of the team and I was satisfied with the content I found on the page.  It had straightforward information about the team's history, logo, name, ownership and place within the national football league, as well as current information and more culturally tuned information about rivals and the fan-base.

Then I checked out the "edit this page" link, something I've never done on a Wikipedia page before.  I was surprised by what I found!  The text box reminded me of HTML coding and I had expected to see just all plain English text, just like what appeared on the page.  I think links like "editing help" will be used quite often when I actually attempt to edit a Wikipedia page, because the content of the edit page didn't seem very self-explanatory.  And I especially took this note to heart: "If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly or redistributed for profit by others, do not submit it."  I was kind of intimidated by this statement, but I suppose it is a way for the Wiki masters to discourage the dissemination of pure speculation. 

But from what I can tell, there are many people who don't mind being subjected to merciless editing or mass redistribution in the name of the Pittsburgh Steelers, because the page history showed that the page gets edited every could of days, several times a day. 

Overall, this activity showed me the real scope and power that Wikipedia brings to its everyday-web-user editors; there is a flurry of activity almost constantly.  The shape and form of information has the potential to be changed on a daily basis.  I'm sure this isn't true for every page, but the Steelers page shows that it does indeed exist for some. 

  

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2 Comments

Daniella Choynowski said:

I picked a page concerning a subject that wasn't academic, but was a topic I was a fan about. There was a whole lot of (good) information, but there was a lot more that could be said, considering I was discussing a musical adapted from a book. There was nothing said about character/storyline changes. A lot was left out and combined in the show, which can alter the viewer's interpretation of the story. And I don't care if someone edits what I wrote: I'm confident in what I wrote about, but it's not like I was sitting at the computer with the libretto and novel in hand. I may have made a mistake or two, but someone will find it.

Jed Fetterman said:

I should have read your page before I edited the pages. I did not realize that there was a help section for all of the formatting and stuff of that kind. It is also interesting to take a look at the history. I had this idea in my head that the pages changed maybe once a month or so. In reality, it changes more often than the weather, and, most of the time, with as much force.

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