Initiation into the Wikipedia Community





Initiation into the Wikipedia Community

Comment directly on your experience in Wikipedia. What did you do and what did you learn?

In my groundbreaking contribution into the Wikipedia community about “Pa kimchi”, I was exposed to multiple truths that transcend a simple editing. The overlying lesson that made itself clear is that real academics are humble thus accept reproach. They view it as constructive criticism that will lead to advancement of their editing capabilities rather usurpation of their authority. It was a pleasant surprise that anyone regardless his or her qualification could edit Wikipedia. It is a good principle that can be adopted in real life that is judging people from the content of their work rather than their social standing. This is not to say that Wikipedia accepts an upload at face value. Instead, the community of editors critically analyzes it to gauge its validity. Wikipedia is a global community with people from diverse cultures and corresponding contrasting views (Kraut and Resnick 38). It follows that standardization of information uploaded becomes necessary. In order to increase one’s validity and illustrating that your contribution is not limited to opinions and hypotheses becomes necessary. This is done by referencing third party sources.

The entire process was enlightening and interesting in equal measure from choosing a topic to inform people, to the actual editing part. Understandably, I was nervous and anxious even after successfully uploading the article. After an interaction with other editors, my self-esteem was increased. They posited that the first time is the hardest becoming easier with every subsequent article. They highlighted that established editors also have doubts about the sufficiency of the article in addressing said issue and by extension about their own abilities. However, the doubt endures but it often become dormant only to be triggered by consistent rejection. The interaction capability illustrates the strength of the forum on its own right. Every contributor became your peer regardless of ethnic background, religious affiliation, or academic qualification and helped improve the notability of one’s article.

Connect your experience in Wikipedia explicitly to the concepts in the course material we have covered. Which topics or issues were relevant or important? Why?

To increase the participation of contributors the Wikipedia innately offers incentives either intrinsic or extrinsic. The nature of the said motivational factors is intrinsic and intangible. It is often elevation of a person’s social standing in the community; a professor with consistent quality postings about a specific area may become an authority in his respective field. Wikipedia has provisions that enable one to trace the person’s contribution history. Anticipatory reciprocity may act as an incentive where a person contributes expecting returns of equal value later. They believe that by investing information into Wikipedia (Kraut and Resnick 45). They may encourage another person to contribute an article to the said encyclopedia. Another motivation may be need for belonging being associated with a formidable community of Wikipedians have proven incentive enough for some. To this end, the community welcomes the first timers warmly to increase retention. The veterans already realize that the collaborative nature of work is enhanced with the growth of the group. Rather than the typical established norms and regulation that constraint new entrants, Wikipedia is more fluid encouraging the reverse. The group players however reward identity persistence. Some contributors are altruistic with their only agenda being to help their respective society. Even though there has been a slight increase in contribution in the quarters that receive economic compensation, it is a secondary motivator. In isolation, it is unsatisfactory. However, after attachment with social reference it becomes the ideal incentive. The incentives given to an online community, as shown in class, overlap each other for optimal effect.

Reflect on what parts of the theories or concepts we covered applied or didn’t? What would you change or add based on your experience?

The Wikipedia has some innate shortcomings. Despite structures put in place to restrict the reversion of ideas, instances of subsequent alterations after the article is changed by another article. The above shows a fundamental error in their communication apparatus. The bonds of said community are artificial as though the intellectual honesty prevalent in the talks is essential the anonymity of the respective contributors limits interaction to a specific level. The feelings of obligation to the community are undermined with the introduction of financial remuneration. The source of motivation is bound to shift towards the above (Kraut and Resnick 40). Wikipedia ought to relate contribution through writing directly to the achievement of a particular community goal. The contributor is bound to stay in the group if he feels valued subsequently his departure will be felt. The person will remain to satisfy the need, as he believes he is best positioned to optimize the solution.


Work Cited

Kraut, Robert E., and Paul Resnick. Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-Based Social Design. The MIT Press, 2012. Print.

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