In this assignment, you will improve some aspect of Wikipedia’s content relating to sustainability, climate change, or a related topic. This may be as simple as fixing a typo or adding a link or scholarly reference, or it may be as complex as adding an entirely new paragraph or even a new page (if you feel that there is a significant gap in Wikipedia’s coverage of a topic).
Two examples of errors/gaps in the live version of Wikipedia are included below. Please don’t fix either of the below for now, so other members of the class can see them on the live site.
Example 1: Typo: The following page talks about the impact of climate change on elefants, but since “elefants” is spelled incorrectly, it links to a WWII German tank, rather than to the large animal species. That page could be improved by changing the spelling to “elephants”.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attribution_of_recent_climate_change (Links to an external site.)
Example 2: Missing link: This page discusses the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), but that term is plain text, rather than being linked to the Wikipedia page about it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainability_in_construction (Links to an external site.)
This page could be improved by adding a hyperlink from that term to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Green_Building_Council.
Your task in this assignment involves completing all of the following steps:
1) Read this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ/Editing (Links to an external site.)
2) By Wednesday at 5pm – find an error (e.g., typo) or gap in coverage (e.g., missing link, missing reference, incomplete content) in one of the many dozens of relevant pages that you can reach via one of the two categories below:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Sustainability (Links to an external site.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Climate_change (Links to an external site.)
or some other Wikipedia page relevant to this course.
2) Look at the “Talk” and “View History” pages for that Wikipedia page, so that you have a context for the page and how it developed. (For example, are people already arguing about the item you’re about to edit?)
Figure 1: Sample page showing location of “Talk” and “View History” tabs.
3) Assuming that your proposed edit would not be at odds with discussions in the Talk page, improve Wikipedia by clicking “Edit” and correcting the error of filling the gap. You will need also need to write a few words in the “Edit Summary” box, where you describe why you made the change. Note that if you have arrived at a page that does not have the edit button this page may be “semi-protected” and is unavailable for edit and you should find a different page.
Figure 2: Sample page showing location of edit tab.
4) Write a brief essay (approximately 200-300 words) about the process of editing Wikipedia. What are the strengths and weaknesses of having this large sociotechnical system be editable by anyone? Did the process of editing it make you trust Wikipedia more or less? Why?
Please Include a link to the URL of the page you edited.
Please also go to the “View History” page and include the log of your edit at the bottom of the essay. It will look something like this: ” 18:02, 23 September 2019 188.8.131.52 talk 19,262 bytes +21 Attempting to improve grammar/wording on sentence.”
Figure 3: Highlighted section showing an example log of a previous edit.
5) After Thursday at 5pm – check to see if your edit is still present on the live version of Wikipedia. (Wikipedia has many volunteer editors who review contributions and delete them if they’re problematic or poorly done.) If your edit was deleted, please add ~100 words to your essay describing why you believe it was deleted, and whether the deletion was fair. If it was not deleted, simply write “My edit was not deleted by Thursday at 5pm.”
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