Avoid Wikipedia like the Plague

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[in class]

I decided to check out the Grey's Anatomy page on wikipedia, because it's my favorite tv show, and I'm not lying when I say that I could watch seasons 1-3 over and over again...anyway, when I went to edit the page, I was surprised to see it was in the a form of code, so I decided to just change one thing to start out: I changed Erica Hahn's status as "Former Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery" to just "Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery." To my surprise, I didn't need to make a log in ID. Did this happen to anyone else? Regardless, I moused over the "create an Account" and a flag showed up saying "You are encouraged to log in; however, it is not mandatory," so I created an account anyway.

Seton Hill--Wikipedia

I was a little disappointed about the Wikipedia website for SHU. It lacked any detailed information, and the only section that I actually wanted to contribute to was blocked, or something, so I couldn't fix the typos that I found. However, the page did offer a little more background information than I expected, which was nice, because it solved a few questions that I had about the school. On the whole, I think that people would be smarter to visit the actual Seton Hill Website, but at least the wikipedia site offers a little background information and list of offered majors.

St. Vincent--WIkipedia

As much as I was disappointed in the Wikipedia website for SHU, St. Vincent's was even worse. The site offered very little information about the college itself, only mentioning a little background information and a few traditions. It didn't even list any of the offered majors like the SHU page did.

When I compare the two sites, both have strenghts and weaknesses.

Strengths:

Seton Hill's site features a list of majors as well as a list of the athletics offered.

St. Vincent offers some press moments to show the school's rising fame(ish), such as President Bush's appearance for Commencment in 2007.

Weaknesses:

Seton Hill's site really doesn't go very in-depth. This is rather disencouraging for prospective students, because students look for schools that have lots of activities going on.

St. Vincent made no mention of its strengths as a college. It doesn't talk about what majors (under-grad or grad) are offered.

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Homework:

For this section of the assignment, I decided to make substantial changes to the Grey's Anatomy and Sailor Moon pages. I chose Grey's because of my reasons listed above--I love the show and have most of the episodes memorized. I chose the Sailor Moon page, because she was my favorite cartoon growing up as a child. I would watch the episodes religiously after school (at Aquinas Academy, a private Catholic school), and my mom bought me books and other merchandise pertaining to the show. Call me a geek, a nerd, a little kid. I don't care. Even though Sailor Moon is a silly kid's show, I would probably still watch it if it was still aired on television....wow, I am a geek...anyway...

Grey's Anatomy:

I edited the section concerning Season 5. I added a few details about what has been going on thus far in the season. 

I added:

So far this season, Meridith and Derek haven't hit many rough patches. Meredith stumbles across her dead mother's diaries. Callie and Erica have a fling; however, Callie has a hard time adjusting to life as a lesbian. She "cheats" on Erica in the on-call room with Mark Sloan. During the episode, Rise Up, Izzie has a minor melt-down when she begins to see Denny everywhere, after meeting the man whose heart she stole in order to save Denny during season 3. When Erica learns of Izzie's actions, she insists that everyone should punish, and plans to report not only Izzie, but the hospital as well, angering not only Cheif Webber but Callie as well.

Sailor Moon:

For this section, I added information to the Anime section. I added some brief information about season 1 to the section: 

During the first season of the show, Serena spends half of the season meeting the rest of her team, through various episodes, which eventually lead to the first climactic episode, where the Serena and Darrien reveal their super-selves to each other in a tower where both are in serious danger. The crystals that Tuxedo Mask, the Sailor Scouts and the Negaverse combine into the Imperial Silver Crystal, and Sailor Moon is identified as the chosen one, Princess Serena. From here, Darrien and Serena are reunited as lovers from a previous world, on the moon, where Serena was princess and Darrien was prince of Earth. By the end of the season, Serena faces the queen of the Negaverse, Queen Beryl presumably by herself, but defeats Beryl with the help of her sailor scouts (Mercury, Mars, Jupiter & Venus). Alas, the episode ends with the girls forgetting that they were ever super heroes, and unfortunately, they forget their friendships as well...but not for long. Season 2 revives the superheroes, and by season 3, Serena is joined unknowingly by her future daughter, Rini, who eventually grows up due to Dark Magic, and almost calls for the end of the world. Three movies were also produced in english. Two of the movies included Rini, although Rini's part was more minor in one than the other. The first movie involved Darrien's childhood friend, who was actually a plant alien. The second concerned Luna's desire to be human and feel love. This "episode" included an Ice Queen, and in the final movie, Sailor Moon rescues children, including Rini from a deathly dreamland.

 

I admit that in this section, I was a little rusty with all of the names and plots for the show, so I assumed that the Wikipedia community would correct my mistakes. I decided to let the site sit for an hour, while I did some other homework. When I returned, I checked out both sites again.

I visited the Sailor Moon site first, and clicked the bookmark labled Anime. Lo and behold, my entire entry has vanished. Go figure. Now granted, my addition to the page was not on a scholarly level, but I don't think it was really THAT horrible, but I guess that other Sailor Moon addicts out there disagreed. Guess I'm not as much of a geek as I'd guessed.

So, as I wandered back to the Grey's page, I wondered if I would see similar results. Wrong again. Apparently Grey's Anatomy fans aren't as crazy about content as Sailor Moon fans, because if anyone did happen across my addition to Season 5, they didn't even notice that I spelled "Meridith" wrong once, and then spelled "Meredith" right a few words later. Go figure.

Now for my reflection...I've learned a lot about using Wikipedia  from this exercise. While I had reservations about using the site prior to this experience, I now realize that while this site can be useful for certain information (especially Media), it isn't as useful in the real world (especially college). I stand by what I said in my last blog entry: Wikipedia can offer some great sources to draw information from--but one of those sources isn't Wikipedia. If you're that lazy, you deserve to be fed incorrect information. I see the value in using the site for quick references, but I don't understand how anyone could use such a website to formulate a Research paper, as I know students try time and again to do. 

As far as I'm concerned, everyone who is doing scholarly or academic work should avoid wikipedia like the plague.

3 Comments

Alex Hull said:

I found it interesting that no one changed the Grey's Anatomy page. That's such a popular show that I figured someone would be quick to catch mistakes on the Wikipedia article.

I was also surprised that the Sailor Moon article alterations were quickly erased. Completely.

Good insight. I think avoiding Wikipedia like the plague is a bit extreme. You do mention that: Wikipedia can offer some great sources to draw information from.
I agree with that and that is where I stand. I also agree with your next statement that Wikipedia is not one of the sources that is quotable. But I don't think Wikipedia must be avoided like the plague.

Christina Celona said:

Hey, I also replied to your comments on my blog, if you want to check them out.

I'm really surprised that your Grey's Anatomy edits were left intact, too. Like Alex says, it's probably got a whole bunch of obsessed fans keeping watch over it and biting the heads off of anyone who tries to change it.

I think I know why your Sailor Moon edits were deleted--you wrote about the English dubbed version which is actually extremely different from the original Japanese.

Or so I'm told. *cough*

Jessie Krehlik said:

I was really surprised that the Grey's edits weren't removed too. I checked again this morning, and they're still intact. As for the sailor moon edits, I didn't think they were THAT different from the Japanese ones--Iknow they changed some of the graphics (they removed the nudity), but from what I remember from my days of looking at as much Sailor Moon stuff as possible, the story line remained very similar. Anyway, I still don't understand why they had to delete the entire thing...

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