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 donโ€™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.