January 19, 2006

432 words 3 mins read


I have to say I really enjoy spending time on Wikipedia. I’d say that WP is by far my favorite site on the net, and I’m not really much of a book worm. I first discovered WP along time ago and have been using it as one my main sources of research for a long while. More recently I would hit up a topic I was interested in, and follow all (or almost) the links on that page and read those articles too (rinse and repeat). This I think is one of the best features of Wikipedia, compared to any other site or research forum in the world. For example you may find yourself reading about the F22 Raptor somewhere on the net, and they may mention that one of the Raptor’s crashed, and that site might even mention that it was due to Pilot-induced oscillation. But very very very rarely would you find sites that would link or describe what PIO is in decent detail. Its just fascinating to be able to jump so quickly to the next article, and jump back to finish reading what you started. Well, until of course you jump and jump and jump till your several layers deep and forgot to finish reading the original article.

The most recent, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting to know and understand the Wikipedia community. I don’t think casual users of Wikipedia realize much there is to the “other side” of Wikipedia. By this other side I mean the active users side, the side that reads the talk pages, makes userboxes, updates templates and other fun stuff like that. While I’ve been much more active for the last month — helping to fight vandalism, creating new articles, making userboxes, and generally getting involved in this community — I’m just now beginning to realize how big that community is.

Yes, I realize Wikipedia isn’t perfect. Anyone can edit a page which makes it a great target for vandalism. Though that same ability is what makes it so great. I, the terrible writer that I am, can sit down and write an article about my college. Its a small college with only a few hundred students. So small that few even know of its existence. You would never find an article for it in a regular encyclopedia, or even many lists of colleges. But on Wikipedia — it exists. Why? Because I wrote the article. So its not very good right now — but I can improve on it — and when I have free time I shall.