For exercise 1 of this practicum, I visited the citation hunt project page and searched for a topic relevant to myself, track and field athletes. I stumbled upon a page that needed multiple citations, a former athlete and American beauty pageant winner Claire Schreiner. The citations I tried to add didn’t end up working, but this mostly just an interesting thought process of how to cite someone’s personal information. I went to her school athletic profile to get her hometown and other information, but what;s interesting is that is self reported. Statistics found online on personal information like this seems to all stem from self reports from her, such as her applications from the beauty pageant or a biography website. The desire to have a citation for items like this is interesting because they seek verification, when in order to truly verify much information one would need to request to see a birth certificate or somehting along those lines. Or, to otherwise trust that institutions along the way(i.e college, pageant) are checking and verifying for you. 

The second exercise was to find a page that needs help, and add to it. I followed the link that led to pages in need of attention. From there I went to the food and drink categories, and then found a page of cereal types. I realized that they have quite the extensive list of cereals and that I wasn’t able to contribute much to because I really only expose myself to ten different kinds of cereals.If I was to edit this page, I could research the dates that the cereals went inactive, because some of that information is not complete. For example, Captain Planet cereal was rolled out in 1994, and I don’t see any updated information on the cereal being marketed so I’m quite certain it was discontinued, but the end date is not on Wikipedia. (Editors note: Upon further research done later, the cereal was indeed cut from distribution, if even distributed at all).

Reading articles like this raises the interesting question of what is worth the time to look up. At the time, I didn’t think actually editing the cereal page would benefit anybody and would therefore be a waste of my time, but then I remember all those random times I’ve thought of the most random/dumb useless questions and wanted to know an answer and there was just nothing out on the web. I like to think of the internet as housing all information in an easy and accessible way, but I think I’m the perfect example of why it is not!   

One response to “Wiki-Contributing”

  1. Katy, You definitely took a unique approach to this assignment. Your observation about the difficulty of citing personal information was a new comment in what has been a really long list of interesting comments about the Wikipedia editing process for this assignment. Wikipedia, strangely, values secondary sources over primary sources in many cases, but are primary sources not usually the most reliable, or the origin, if you will? And did you wind up adding anything to any of the cereal pages? The Captain Planet research project is oddly fascinating. That is a topic that would never make it into an older, more restrictive kind of encyclopedia, yet here it has a home in Wikipedia. 
    Data usefulness is a really interesting question. You mentioned bowing out of editing the cereal page because, basically, who cares?, and that information takes a lot of time to research for who-knows-what purpose. Why might cereal matter, and matter to whom? Why doesn’t cereal matter to you (I’m asking seriously)? What would you spend time researching and editing? Why did you not choose to go that route?