Academics nationally and internationally are beginning to integrate work on Wikipedia into their courses; it is a great way to get students to think about public writing, the creation of knowledge, citation, and to hone a few digital authoring skills. Many of the faculty teaching “Feminist Dialogues on Technology” – the FemTechNet Distributed Online Collaborative Course (DOCC) that is running this year – are going to include Wikipedia assignments. Adrianne Wadewitz and I are leading this area of FemTechNet work and we’ve created this list as a way partially representing the ways one can participate in Wikipedia culture and knowledge production – while there is a lot there, it’s not exhaustive. As we continue working, I’ll be putting up additional resources, but it is worth checking out Adrianne’s extensive work in this area – including this: “How to Use Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool” by Liz Losh (interviewing Adrianne).
There are some basic categories of work:
- Adding information
- Format/design of information
- Participating in discussion
Which we can break out into work items:
Create new articles about
- conceptual areas (e.g. history of women in science),
- corporations, objects (e.g. the “corset”),
- lists (e.g. – 18th century children’s authors),
Work on existing articles by
- adding sections,
- adding information,
- adding citations,
- citing sources on feminist topics,
- citing women’s work on any topic, or
- citing feminist sources on non-overtly feminist topics (e.g. “history of the novel”).
Clean up existing articles by
- copyediting (guild has a list of articles requesting help),
- tagging articles where issues exist (this is particularly important as a way of communicating to readers),
- creating links between existing articles (look in category: orphan),
- add a script or bot to your account that will help you do cleaning tasks,
- assess articles (rank from “stub” up – helpful for understanding how Wikipedians are writing in an area)
Below are more advanced work items – ones that can be undertaken once an editor has built up some authority and experience.
Adding Images (requires an understanding of copyright issues)
- find new images to add to Wikimedia Commons – this is a challenging task, especially for historical women
- find images on Commons to add to Wikipedia articles
Participating in conversations (after established oneself as a memeber)
- about the structure of the site,
- deletion discussions,
- possible violations of the civil code and banning,
- policy (see the notice boards on the policy items),
- offering advice about sources etc,
- or the various Wikiprojects.
Help create and sustain the community
- welcome and work with new members (TeaHouse),
- identify and address vandalism,
- work to build consensus by participating in talk conversations,
- vote for various high-level positions, or
- serve on one of the various administrative committees.