T214: Block 1, case study 6 – Wikipedia
So far, during my OU T214 studies, I’ve failed to find enough time to properly engage with some of the research activities. There have been a number of case studies that I should have been writing about but which I skimmed over instead.
I don’t want to repeat that for my second assignment, at least not totally. I’ve spent some time reading over some of the activities but I’m concentrating most on the parts that really matter. I’m supposed to somehow find 16 hours a week for study on this module, but that is surely somewhat implausible consdering all my other activities; and so I shall spend the most time on the parts most relevant to the assignment.
Two of the four questions relate to Wikipedia, and Case Study 6 gives me the following task:
I want you to work your way through these Resources for Case Study 6: Wikipedia, making notes as you go. These notes may be useful when you come to do the assignment.
In addition to reading about Wikipedia, I want you to engage directly with it. This means that you will need to find out how it works, what you have to do in order to be able to edit Wikipedia entries, and so on. Part of your work for TMA 02 involves creating or editing an entry. In other words, it requires you to cross the threshold between being a spectator and a player.
Well, I’ve used Wikipedia before (who hasn’t?) and even done the odd, simple edit. I should be OK with this, however I’ll need to relate my experiences with the goals of this course. Here’s the list of resources I need to use:
- Wikipedia Statistics
- About Wikipedia
- Stacy Schiff: Know it all: can Wikipedia conquer expertise?New Yorker, 31 July 2006
- Robert McHenry: The Faith-based Encyclopedia, 15 November 2005
- Clay Shirky: Old revolutions good; new revolutions bad, 13 June 2007
- Larry Sanger: Why Wikipedia must jettison its anti-elitism, 31 December 2004
- Edward Felten: Wikipedia quality check, 3 September 2004
- Edward Felten: Wikipedia vs. Britannica smackdown, 7 September 2004
- Jason Lanier: Digital Maoism: the hazards of the new online collectivism, 30 June 2006
- Comments on the Lanier article by various experts
- Lorcan Dempsey: Wikipedia: an addressable knowledge base, 8 February 2007
Below the fold are my thoughts about my research. I need to be careful not to answer the assignment on this page (that’ll get me into trouble) but I shall be expounding at length on what I find. I shall also be using Zotero for references.
Wikipedia is very, very large. As websites go it’s the equivalent of Jupiter, compared to my own blog, which could probably compared to one of the rivets holding the ISS together.
According to the Wikipedia special statistics page there are 3,587,839 content pages and over 23 million pages in total (including all the discussion pages etc). There can’t be many (if any) bigger static websites out there. There are over 14 million registered users (many of which could be bots I suppose), of which “only” about 156,000 have been active in the last 30 days. Even with the lower active number that’s still a lot of people.
According to Alexa.com Wikipedia is the 7th most visited website and (from URLfan) the most influential website. The latter position is determined from the number of citations from bloggers, so I would suggest that this says that Wikipedia is one of the fittest (using T214 parlance) websites around.
….aaaaaand that’s where I got to. My assignment is handed in now without me completing this little exercise. I’ve had to draw on a lot of existing knowledge for my assignment and I’m sure I’ll be getting a lower mark than I would have done if I’d have actually finished. There are a number of other exercises I never even started.
I need to create more study time for myself, this is for certain