How to Use & Edit Wikipedia (New Media Monday)


So what is wikipedia? Why is it so important? How can you use a wiki and even wikipedia? These questions and more will be answered in today’s New Media Monday.

Wikis in Plain English

What is Wikipedia?
Wikipedia is the source of truth for many people. When they look for the facts they ask google and google sends them to Wikipedia. Anyone can edit wikipedia. That means YOU can edit wikipedia. Each wiki page has a discussion page where users debate what the content should be.

At one time the 3 page Wikipedia post on abortion had over 80 pages of discussion. Every word has been a struggle. Is it a fetus or a baby? Pro Life or Anti-Abortion? The Wikipedia discussion page is on the front lines of the abortion debate.

Disagreements on wikipedia are settled democratically so the side with the most people wins. Wikipedia leans left because conservatives don’t edit it.

What is wikipedia good for?

  • Arena of Ideas: The debate pages on wikipedia are some of the most important on the internet.
  • Candidate Information: Some candidates have lots of accurate information about them on wikipedia. Some do not. This is where the press will goes to look for details and sources. Google any politician and their wikipedia page will in the top three sites on that politician.
  • Driving Traffic to Conservative Sites: Each wikipedia page has a links section at the bottom. You may find it useful.

How to Edit Wikipedia

Editing wikipedia, or any wiki for that matter, is not as hard as you might think. Belive it or not wikipedia has a great article on how to edit wikipedia .

Wikipeida does not look kindly on vanity pages. Unless you are running for a major office (State rep and up) and a party nominee a page on you will likely be deleted. It is better to edit other pages than to create one about yourself.

Wikipedia is not the place to fight for your point of view. Wikipedia is your place to fight for fairness.

How & Where to find time to edit Wikipedia

How to Use a Wiki for a Debate Clup
The Austin Rhetoric Club has started using a wiki to handle all our research. So far it has saved us a tun of time and the students seem to enjoy editing it. We tried Wet Paint but found that it was lacking several important features (such as an easy way to print) to work well for a debate club.

We settled on Deki Wiki which is also free and powerful. It lacks a to-do feature but we bypassed our need for it by having a to do page that the students themselves can edit.

Thomas Umstattd Jr. is the author of Courtship in Crisis, the former head of, and co-founder of the Austin Rhetoric Club, a homeschool speech and debate club in Austin, Texas. He is a professional speaker and CEO of Author Media. He sits on the board of directors for several nonprofits, including the Texas Alliance for Life.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

6 thoughts on “How to Use & Edit Wikipedia (New Media Monday)

  1. You can create todo functionality with RSS feeds. You'll be happy to hear that MindTouch Deki is getting a whole new message bus that will enable real todo (likely in the next release) with notifications to SMS, IM, email, whatever… 🙂

  2. Thomas, I'm curious to know what you think about the credibility of Wikkipedia. The college I go to frowns on using wikkipedia for research and some professors will not even count it as an outside resource because of the "lack of credibility". Just curious as to what your opinion is on that matter

  3. The academic community is very threatened by wikipeida. It removes them as a filter between people and information. Overall I think wikipedia is quiet accurate albeit not that authoritative. The best way to use wikipeida for research is to use is as a portal to more credible information. A good wikipedia page will be well referenced and filled with hyper links to studies and additional research.

    I use Wikipedia to get the big picture.

    @Aaron Thanks for your reply. I can't way for that new functionality over at MindTouch!

  4. Thanks for the mention of MindTouch! We're very glad to see you chose Deki and look forward to hearing more about your experience in the future. Keep up the great writing. Cheers!

  5. Hello Thomas,

    This is not related to your blog of Oct. 6th. But I do have a new technologies question. I need an online master calendar that can be accessed by various branches (directors) of our ministry. Do you know of any?

    Thanks in advance, Mrs. "R"

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