Speaker Brianna Laugher
Time 2008-01-29 13:30
Conference LCA2008

Not a giant left or right wing repository.

What is Wikipedia

The world’s largest bureaucracy.

253 languages

Not a dictionary, a encyclopedia. Not every word can go in.

8 million articles 2 million English articles - one quarter.

%80 edits made by anonymous users.


  • anonymous reader
  • anonymous editor
  • registered user (new and autoconfirmd states).
    • can create new files and register new articles.
  • rollback access, rollback to past state with one click
  • administrators
    • delete pages
    • block pages
    • edit blocked pages
  • arbcommittee
  • bureaucrat
  • checkuser (CU)
  • oversight
  • Jimmy Wales

Wikimedia Foundation

Provide the infrastructure and organisational framework. Glorified web host. Do intervene in extreme conditions.

Other projects:

  • Wikiquote
  • Wikinews
  • Wikisource
  • Wikibooks
  • Wikiversity
  • Mediawiki
  • wikichix.org
  • etc

Issues for foundation:

  • anyone can edit (anonymously) - assume good faith
  • content can be freely used, including commercially
  • non biased, NPOV - neutral point of view
  • no ownership - contributors have to allow others to edit your articles
  • incremental progress - don’t have to submit complete finished article

Editing Wikimedia

Policies vs Guidelines

  • Guidelines more recommendation
  • Policies need to be complied with

Deletion process

  • Speedy delete: Admin deletes on site.
  • Proposed: Anyone can add, if no one deletes it within 5 days it gets deleted.
  • Normal: 5 days discussion, admin closes according to consensus.

Defend your article by improving it.

Undeletion process (undeletion).

  • Try to resolve with administrator.
  • Inappropriate speedy delete (no discussion0
  • Inappropriate close (against consensus).
  • New information has come to light.
  • You just want it back ;-).

Dispute resolution

  • Dispute over wording of article
    1. Bold - just make changes
    2. Revert - somebody disagrees
    3. Discuss - discuss the issue
  • Request for comment
  • Request for mediation
  • Request for arbitration
    • very controversial issues.

edit war - between users

reel war - between administrators, may involve disciplining administrators.

Getting involved

wikipedia WP:AWNB


Don’t leap into controversy

Start with what what you know or like

It is normal for somebody else to edit your changes.

Don’t bother reading all the documentation before hand.


WYSIWYG editors? Templates, tables

Stable version that has been approved.

Trust highlighting - see the age of various sections of text; something older might be more reliable??

Splintered community - different views - more rules required so people will do the right thing.

Competitors: Knol (google) and Citizendium (creative commons license, will be able to feed back into Wikipedia)

image dumps not available publicly, due to size of the dump.


Is it notable? How do you determine if it is notable or not?

  1. Article written.
  2. Article marked “citation needed”.
  3. Journalist copies article sentence word by word and includes it in newspaper article.
  4. Article “citation needed” replaced with reference to newspaper article.

Bibliographies of living people can be very controversial.