I am going to be honest, a peer produced encyclopedia does not sound very promising, yet Wikipedia has proven to be more reliable than we all thought. The Wikipedia articles that I have read in the past were all properly cited and contained accurate information. I have chosen to write about a Wikipedia article simply on the Toronto Blue Jays, only because I am a huge Jays fan if you didn’t already know! The article is well written, containing images of their logo, current uniforms for home, away and alternate games and their four colours: royal blue, navy blue, white and red. The history of the Toronto Blue Jays is also highlighted, including dates, seasons, and of course, the World Series championship. Their awards and achievements are listed, along with the current roster and even the mascots are recognized in the article. The owners, manager, general manager and president of Baseball Operations are brought to the reader’s attention, as well as major league titles, nicknames and the home ballpark (obviously, the Rogers Centre, which I still call the Skydome).
I read through the “talk” section of the article and I noticed that Johnny Au provides a set of photos which are licensed CC-BY-SA. This clarifies that the photos are safe and compatible with Wikipedia. The contributor suggests a news source from mainstream news/sports news. The nationality of the players is discussed by yuristache where the user states that “given the fact that baseball is becoming an increasingly more international sport (i.e., more non-U.S. leagues in existence, more non-U.S. players in the MLB), the roster formatting on Wikipedia should probably be updated to reflect that”. This illustrates the importance of nationality and how flag icons would be necessary. I could not agree more! This shows that ideas can be broadcasted through the “talk” page from anyone interested.
The users who contribute to the Wikipedia articles are able to express themselves, sharing their own ideas and opinions in a discussion. There is no negative feedback, put-downs or hate statements. Users are free to add on to other comments, and argue what they believe. Contributors are able to validate their argument by attaching proper sources and links to prove their point or exemplify what they are discussing. People are also able to fix incorrect statements on the Wikipedia articles, for example, Resolute fixed the team roster section because a template was broken. Johnny Aumade a change to the Jays roster by expanding the off-season blockbuster trade in the main article by more than a paragraph. The contributors are able to create user names and nick names so their real names are not public. This creates a sense of privacy.
Although I am not a fan of using Wikipedia articles for school related research, I still consider Wikipedia articles legitimate, for the most part, because many users who contributed to the discussion on the Toronto Blue Jays Wikipedia article have done a counter check. Surprisingly, there is a system that Wikipedia uses to scope out the good articles from the bad. Jensen states that “Wikipedia has evolved its own evaluation process that honors the best articles in terms of internal criteria. The criteria for ‘Good articles’ are, that they are ‘written very well, contain factually accurate and verifiable information, are broad in coverage, neutral in point of view, stable, and illustrated, where possible, by relevant images with suitable copyright licenses’”. This means the articles that you are reading through Wikipedia have been examined and have passed the test! This should make you feel a bit more trustworthy of Wikipedia articles. He also declares that “in mid-2012, out of all four million articles 15,572 are honored as ‘Good articles’ and 3,619 have won top honors as ‘Featured articles’”. This is pretty unreal if you ask me! GO WIKIPEDIA GO!
I am not much of a Wikipedia user, but while discovering the “talk” section, I learned a lot about Wikipedia. I now know that a discussion area actually exists! I also realized, through Jensen’s article, that there is quite the process of which Wikipedia articles are able to be put online. I hope after reading this blog post, you all feel slightly more comfortable when using Wikipedia for whatever the reason; school, work, research, etc.; I know I do! That’s all for now, take care my fellow bloggers, sweet dreams zz-z-zzz
Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182