Wikipedia Editing- Tales and Trials

Many of you may not know that in addition to keeping this site full of amazing content, I also edit Wikipedia articles. I’d considered editing them before but it wasn’t until around a year ago that I realized if I wasn’t going to edit articles, they probably would never be up to date.

What drove me to sign up and become one of Wikipedia’s ‘members’/’contributors’ was viewing the outdated page of a certain NFL stadium. By comparison, most other stadium pages contained at least somewhat updated material. This page looked like it hadn’t been updated since 2008! I signed up and went right to work.

Fast-forward to today and the page looks wonderful. I’m not shocked I was able to add so much to the page, but I do struggle to imagine what it looked like before I made my extensive amendments. Nowadays, much of my editing focuses on stadiums/arenas, mostly in North Carolina, and on NC sports teams.

Editing Wikipedia articles is similar to writing code. Not only do the two look somewhat similar, they both follow a complex series of symbols, letters, numbers and ordering. If you’ve ever clicked on the editing section of a Wikipedia page, you might’ve been overwhelmed looking at it. I was too until I actually started editing. Like any profession, editing gets better with practice. It took a while before I memorized how to do certain things, and I’m still figuring out how to edit correctly.

My favorite editing story: I went on a page of an NFL team to check and see if it had any misinformation or if I could condense anything. When I pulled up the page, what should have been a large box off to the side detailing team information didn’t exist. Instead, all the info was in paragraph form with bolded terms flanking the giant paragraph. I dove into the editing section to see what had happened. After going through several ideas and none of them working, I figured out the problem: whoever edited last had spelled “conference” wrong, thereby throwing off the entire box!

Correcting mistakes is only one part of what I do on Wikipedia. I also add information and sources to articles. Adding sources is either very easy or very hard. Some of the information you read is so old or irrelevant, finding sources to back it up is near impossible. Adding video credits was confusing, and making sure the full citation’s correct always bugs me, but overall citing sources is easier than you may think.

So what’s my favorite story about citing sources/adding info? I have respect for history and  there’s this one old coliseum that was recently becoming relevant again. It’s Wikipedia page, however, had little to no information about the history of the building itself when compared to other domed structures like it. I set out online to find any scrap of credible sources- and it took a while. Finally I stumbled upon an old jackpot of information and along with a few other sources, I began writing up the lengthy history of the coliseum. After a few hours of typing, checking sources, retyping, and moving paragraphs, the site finally had a multi-year history section worthy of its long lifespan.

Another question I’m sure you’re wondering about: why do I edit? I want the information to be up-to-date and as correct as possible, even if it is on a site that’s had a lot of flack thrown at it for being more unreliable than reliable. That perception’s starting to change, I hope, because whenever I edit something I try my best to add as many genuine sources as I can backing up what I say. That way, future generations or just members of the general public can know the info on those pages has been cited to credible articles and videos.

And I also happen to love doing it. It sure feels great knowing you’ve given someone else credible information, even if my fingers usually kill me by the time I finish.

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One thought on “Wikipedia Editing- Tales and Trials

  1. Editing Wikipedia is good practice for editing non-fiction writing in general. I’m pleased to learn how you value citing multiple sources in support of the facts. Good editors also make good writers.

    Like

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