[Taxacom] Wikipedia rewrites [was: Species Pages - purpose]

Peter DeVries pete.devries at gmail.com
Wed Feb 4 12:51:22 CST 2009

I think Wikipedia is a great resource and I wish more people contributed.
I have only done some minor things, but have not had any problems.

The main challenge, as Nadia mentioned, is figuring out how to do some of
the more complicated things. And even for a nerd like me, getting familiar
with using WikiMarkup takes a little time.

I would recommend starting with simple edits and don't start moving
or renaming pages until you are comfortable with the system.

Two additional things to note is that pages in Wikipedia are incorporated
into the the semantic data resource DBpedia http://dbpedia.org/About .

This then creates resolvable identifiers for entities and concepts. A number
of knowledge management projects are using DBpedia and indirectly Wikipedia
for this vocabulary. So your pages have utility even outside Wikipedia.

Also, there are Semantic Web extensions to the WikiMedia software that
improve its knowledge management abilities . These are not installed on
the current Wikipedia, but if they were they would make it even more useful.

Rod Page is doing interesting this with this that you can follow on his

- Pete

On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 10:03 AM, Nadia Talent <nadia.talent at utoronto.ca>wrote:

> Hi Fred,
> I've found it worthwhile to contribute a little to Wikipedia.
> Initially this was in self-defense when teaching, to fix some of the
> most egregious statements that my students were certain to find. More
> recently I've put in a couple of "nobody knows this" type of things
> that I wished more people understood, and photos as suitable ones arise.
> Wikipedia allows you to put a "watch" on the pages that you are
> interested in, and then at your leisure you can check the activity
> logs on those pages. I've been pleasantly surprised when vandalisms
> have been corrected by other people; it is easy to do, just reverse a
> particular change. The vandalisms have generally been statements
> inserted that are intended to be offensive; there's even a person who
> has an offensive sign-on (a religious reference) who repeatedly hits
> pages that have to do with sexual reproduction. I haven't experienced
> mistakes being inserted by subsequent people. I fear that this is
> because few people care about the material that I've added and are
> happy to leave it to me, but if you were working on more popular
> topics, perhaps that would be more of a problem. Also, I have not
> contributed a lot to Wikipedia, and doing that might bring more risk.
> There is also the problem of infringing someone's copyright (not
> legally, but in spirit).
> A couple of times I've been delighted to see that a small change to
> correct something horrid has been followed by substantial and quite
> acceptable changes by others. That has really felt like being part of
> a cooperative effort to design a new kind of reference work.
> I have had a couple of run-ins with the Wikipedia nerds, the minority
> who make the majority of the edits. These are people who fret about
> the format of pages, complain that I haven't fixed all the errors on a
> page, or run "bots" that detect that I've just added a page that is a
> copy of another page as a first step in renaming something. One can
> always ignore their email and "chat", but some day I'll probably tell
> one of them that a complicated new way of moving a page is not
> something that a knowledge contributor wants to deal with.
> I do think that it has huge potential for publicizing biodiversity. My
> third-year university students live and breathe Wikipedia, and I'm
> sure that younger students do likewise.
> ----------------------------------------------
> Nadia Talent
> ROM Green Plant Herbarium (TRT),
> Department of Natural History,
> Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park,
> Toronto, M5S 2C6, Canada
> http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~ntalent/
> On 4 Feb 2009, at 09:44, Frederick W Schueler wrote:
> > Lyn.Craven at csiro.au wrote:
> >>
> >> The big negative about this approach is "information that can be
> >> corrected and/or confirmed by experts"... I thought about
> >> contributing to Wikipedia but when I realised that anyone could
> >> rewrite my text, I thought why bother.   ...I'm not sure that
> >> putting up something that might only last a few weeks before some
> >> zealot gets to it is worth the time investment.
> >>
> >
> > * has anyone had the experience of having errors subsequently inserted
> > into something they've put up on wikipedia? This is often mentioned,
> > but
> > I wonder how often it occurs (I've thought of contributing to
> > wikipedia,
> > but I've been spooked by the fear that it could become a full-time
> > activity).
> >
> > fred.
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> >             Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
> >           Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
> >        RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
> >     on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
> >       (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> >
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Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

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