3 Responses

  1. Steven P. Black
    Steven P. Black March 13, 2012 at 6:14 am |

    This is a very interesting discussion about the communicative processes of wikipedia and the cultural practices that are intertwined with such processes. I may be hopelessly behind the times, but whenever I think of editing a wikipedia page, the first question that comes to mind is whether or not it actually makes sense for scholars to be involved in such a project, based on time commitments and institutional lack of recognition of these sorts of efforts. Then there are broader questions, such as: what is the real impact of wikipedia? Are other open-source online formats more conducive to maintaining scholarly standards of peer-review? If so, can we think of a way to merge the popularity and ease of wikipedia with these standards?

  2. Judy Pine
    Judy Pine March 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

    Wikipedia is a go-to site for many students, and, frankly, for faculty as well. One thing that I think scholarly participation offers is the inclusion, in many articles, of bibliographies, often with links to those peer reviewed sources which are available on-line. I tell students that it is fine to use Wikipedia as a source of sources in this way, as a jumping-off point, and I sometimes use it this way myself for unfamiliar topics.

    I’ll confess, I don’t go looking at articles on my own areas of expertise. I know I’d probably want to do revision and, as suggested above, I just don’t have time to do that right now. I do sort of envision weighing in on those topics at some point in the vague and misty future. I suppose it is a form of reciprocity, since I rely on other scholars going in there and messing about with their own topics.

    If wikipedia gives our students a sense of the discursive nature of the construction of knowledge, perhaps that is not such a bad thing? I’d love to think that they learn to read thoughtfully and critically, as a matter of course.

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