Reliable or Not? Wikipedia and Dr.King.

Wikipedia has been known as a great place to find quick information and also a threat to knowledge. This threat comes from the idea that anyone can edit any Wiki page on the internet. And because of this misconception, teachers, professors, and some students believe it is not a reliable source for information. Through some research and a look at a specific page I have found this not to be the case. As I looked up a man that has had a lot of influence in the United States, especially its rough past, I found out that there is more than meets the eye about Wikipedia.

Martin Luther King Jr. was the man I had to look up. Learning about him and his time on this earth has been pounded into my head by teachers and my parents since I started my education. The “I Have a Dream” speech has been played countless times while in school during Black History Month. If I were to find any facts that were not true on a Wiki page, it would have to be Dr.King’s.

Before I dive any deeper I must take a moment to reference a man named Henry Jenkins. This man spoke about how Wikipedia can be a good thing for the world based on several keys facts that he points out and backs up with evidence throughout his post named “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us about New Media Tendencies.”

As stated before there has been a growing divide between those who think Wikipedia is something that is not helpful in terms of finding good knowledge on a topic. The term used around Wikipedia that serves a great purpose through the rest of this essay is “collective intelligence.” This is the term used to describe how Wikipedia can work based on a group of people pooling their ideas and facts together for the betterment of gross knowledge.

Returning back to the Dr.King’s page on Wikipedia I looked into the history of the page to see if anything had been added to it recently. To my surprise I found that only certain people could revise the information on this page.USE  This is an important aspect of Wikipedia with the fact that they try to keep out the people that edit just to ruin pages. They seek the best information possible and they see the benefits similarly to Jenkins and other scholars explained in this quote “A growing body of scholarship suggests potential benefits of these emergent forms of participatory culture.”

One thing that also came up was the amount of traffic this page has gotten and continues to get.USE... People continually rely on this site for good helpful information as we can see in this picture. All of this information that is being taken in on a daily bases cannot simply come from one person who knows all about Dr.King. There are several people that have a specific knowledge about him and they come together through Wikipedia to inform the masses. This idea relates to a part in Jenkins’ article called Redefining Expertise which he discusses the concept that was just described.

We can see changes being made to this page about every couple of days but most of which are just minor changes. We know that no page will ever be truly complete but with the accessibility to this wealth of knowledge we can see there is a sign that Wikipedia is doing good for the world with the ability to bring together people from different parts of the world to get as much solid information on big topics of interest.

 

Work Cited

Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About The New Media Literacies.” Web log post. Confessions of an Aca-Fan. N.p., 26 June 2007. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

For the second image : http://stats.grok.se/en/latest30/Martin%20Luther%20King%20Jr

For the first image: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Martin_Luther_King,_Jr.&action=edit

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Kate Voegele

Kate Voegele has been my favorite musician since I first heard her sing and watched her on the television show “One Tree Hill” back in 2008. She is an American singer-songwriter and actress and made her debut in music in 2003. So far she has released three albums and is currently working on her fourth, hoping to be released sometime in 2014. She is not the most well known musician and most people have never heard about her. I decided to choose her Wikipedia page because I know it would not be extensively long and I know a lot about her music and life. Her page was created June of 2005 and has had a total of 937 revisions in the past 8 years; which is not much at all. The most recent edit was made January 2, 2014 and there is only an average of 9 edits per month.

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In Henry Jenkins “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About New Media Literacies” he talks about collective intelligence and how Wikipedia is the perfect example of it. Collective intelligence is “the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal” (Part 2). This Kate Voegele page however does not showcase a huge amount of collective intelligence. The whole page is mostly about her music and has nothing but a sentence about her early life and personal life. There is no knowledge pooled about her life and the page does not describe who she is at all.

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Henry Jenkins also mentions “collective intelligence places new emphasis upon diversity: the more diverse the participants, the richer the final outcome” (Part 2). I noticed as well in Kate Voegele’s Wikipedia page that there was not a diverse amount of participants. Therefore the final outcome is not particularly rich. As you can see there is one main user, “wkhelp” who has made 38 edits and the number of edits rapidly decrease from there. There is not a diverse amount of participants which also in turn creates mistakes that have not been fixed. The last line of the page states she is working on her fourth album and it is set to release in 2013. It is currently 2014 already and the last edit was made in January but no one has fixed this mistake yet.

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One thing I did notice was the most edits that has happened on her page is in 2009, more specifically May. May 2009 was when her album “A Fine Mess” was released and she was still on “One Tree Hill” at that time. This was probably her biggest and most popular album thus far. The pattern of edits seem to show that when a new album is released the edits increase as well.

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All in all I feel her Wikipedia page is not a great example of collective intelligence because it has been up for about 8 years now and there is not much content and only about 900 edits. The most interesting part and another defining factor as to why it is not a great example of collective intelligence is because the Wikipedia page is the second link to show up when you Google Kate Voegele.

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Works Cited

http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab_1.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Voegele