I was so happy to recently take part in a wikpedia ediathon for my Contemporary Research class with Donna Marie. First off, I love wikipedia. I mean, as in, I am in love with it. Ever since I discovered it about 10 years ago, I’ve been known to spend hours reading pages, delving deeper and deeper in to obscure and esoteric information. Second off, I’ve just learned how to insert hypertext, so please feel free to click on the blue underlined stuff, leading to the pages I’ve worked on or used as sources. A few years back, I had actually created an account to edit a page about The Battle of Doan, which I played an extremely small supporting ronle in while serving in Afghanistan.
One of the challenges to this was that I was not very familiar with the complexities of formatting on Wikipedia. Additionally, I included the role American forces of the 29th Infantry Division, serving at the time as part of a PRT, played in the engagement. At the time, a team of journalists embedded with Australian troops made an incredible piece on their deployment to the area, but my additions to the page were entirely based on my own personal experiences and recollection, bolstered by a few sworn statements for awards I’d had from my chain of command.
After this, I had also actually made a few minor edits to the page for the Congregation of Christian Brothers. Before, there had been a section about the Christian Brothers in “The British Isles”. I changed it because of the the archaic sound of “British Isles” which has always ruffled my feathers. I remember being teased as a kid in middle school, about The British Isles needing to be more British when I would get angry debating and arguing with classmates over Irish nationalism, and being likened to terrorists for it. But, luckily, there are credible debates about the language of these islands, is a legitimate thing, and not just a reflection of my own idiosyncratic hyper-nationalist Irish-American upbringing… Exhibit A: British Isles naming dispute.
So, with that limited background of Wikipedia, I dove in to the edit-athon recently and realized…. Yeah, this is still really difficult. I was writing about Tom MacIntyre, because recently having read his play The Great Hunger for another class, I found that there was remarkably little about him on Wikipedia. Another monkey wrench in the spokes of my plan occurred when two days prior to the edit-athon, my laptop appeared to have been damaged!!! (Turns out, it wasn’t. I’d only engaged the button that converted it to a tablet, and couldn’t figure out why leaning back the screen was making it throw a conniption each time). So, after the awkward start of borrowing Donna’s laptop, I dove in, realizing that it would take longer to correctly cite the plays of Tom MacIntyre from Irish Playography. It seemed legit… I mean, if it wasn’t, then I would at the very least cite it correctly, as they included on the page their own citation, of the original play programs. Yeah, I felt confident. In the end, though, I had to go back after the class concluded, and finished adding information about the plays. I still haven’t finished all that I would like to, and do plan on returning to the page eventually to add a bit more biographical information. But I look forward to any thoughts you have on what I’ve done so far:
After updating the info on Tom MacIntyre, I did also add a line to the Wikipedia page for Jack Kerouac. I made a mention of Joycean influences on his writing style, and cited a great essay by Michael Begnal.
I hope anyone reading this enjoys, and look forward to any thoughts, feedback, or comments. I also hope that this was only the first of many, many more Wikipedia edits.
Begnal, Michael S. “‘To Be an Irishman Too’: Jack Kerouac’s Irish Connection.” Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, vol. 92, no. 368, 2003, pp. 371–377., http://www.jstor.org/stable/30095661.
Quigley, Kaitlin. When your professor says Wikipedia is not a credible source. 13 December 2016. Her Campus at Loyola University Marymount Campus, http://www.hercampus.com/school/lmu/finals-week-told-michael-scott. Accessed 20 February, 2017.