Wikipedia: how to work and organize

Another talk in the subjetc Case Studies II, were about Wikipedia and was given by Miguel Vidal, he is a wikipedian since 2005, is sysop since 2007, has more than 11.500 editions, has 158 new articles and he contributed in 2.500 different articles.

What is not Wikipedia?

  • Not is a diccionary and neither paper.
  • Not is an editor of original thinks.
  • Not is a forum of opinion.
  • Not is a hosting of links, images and archives.
  • Not is a hosting of web pages, blogs or a social network.
  • Not is a collection of information without any criteria.
  • Not is a glass ball.
  • Not is censored
  • Not is an experiment of anarchy.
  • Not is a democracy. Nor is a bureaucracy.
  • Not is an educative platform.
  • Not is a primary information font.
  • Not is an authorized information font.

There are unacceptable material for Wikipedia:

  • Articles  that mention facts or events not tested by any source.
  • Articles that introduce new methods or technical undocumented.
  • Articles that introduce new theories, concepts or terms.
  • Articles that redefine or reformulate, in an original way, terms and theories that exists.
  • Articles that argue against a theory or concept documented without do a mention of an acceptable publication as source of the arguments.
  • Articles that contain historical documents firsthand, if the license allows, these can be moved to Wikisource.

What is Wikipedia?

  • Is a free content encyclopedia.
  • Written collaboratively by thousands of volunteers around the world based in wiki technology.
  • Sharing data between editions: image repository, translating projects, links between editions, etc.
  • Available in many languages. Each edition is independent on them.
  • All editions are based in this five common pillars:
    1. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.
    2. Wikipedia find a neutral point of view.
    3. Wikipedia is free content.
    4. Wikipedia follows rules of etiquette.
    5. Wikipedia hasn’t firm rules.

The Wikipedia objetive is to collect and transmit the sum of accumulated human knowledge and verified in the various branches of human activity, but like other encyclopedias is a tertiary information font (and is therefore not advisable to use/cite as authorized information font in serious essays, academic articles or academic work).

Common cases of irrelevance

  • Autopromotion.
  • Biographical and mere news.
  • Sport or music without recognition.
  • Internet sites only to have more followers.
  • Business or other institutions out of national scope.
  • Political publicity.

Type of users

  • Anonymous: they can edit articles or create new articles.
  • Registrator: own page, preferences.
  • Librarian: called admin or sysop.
  • Bureaucrat.
  • Bots.

What is a librarian in Wikipedia?

They are the only ones:

  • can erase pages and images.
  • can lock and unlock registered users and IPs of anonymous users.
  • can protect and unprotect pages.
  • can edit locked pages.
  • can see and restore pages and images erased.
  • can see the erased contributions by users.
  • can see the list of pages without surveillance.

They are not:

  • owners or staff of Wikipedia.
  • users with more rigths or authority of any type, than other users.
  • responsible for setting rules, the rules of Wikipedia are setting among all Wikipedians, by consensus or votes.
  • not the unique users that can fight against the vandalism, fix bugs, reverse, categorize, and other tasks maintenance.
  • users with more on decisive capacity than any another Wikipedian.


This talk was very interesting, because lets you know that Wikipedia only seeks to share information freely and collaboratively, but not with the intention of hosting any content or serve as a place to get free publicity or reputation, but free because is licensed under FLOSS licensing and collaborative because anyone can provide knowledge on existing articles or create new articles.

Miguel stressed that Wikipedia is not a primary source of information, but tertiary, this is something he shares with the rest of encyclopedias. It is only a starting point to obtain information and links to research on various issues, but it is not an authoritative source for scientific or academic.

In my opinion, it’s curiously the controversy that causes Wikipedia, because although it is clear that there has been a major gap in the lives of everyone (who does not go to  Wikipedia when in doubt), but also raises many negative comments from many people, that call into question its veracity. I do not think that is very different than any other encyclopedia that may contain errors or versions of events, the difference is that in Wikipedia there are many people reviewing the information entered and is therefore easier to solve them or give them a more neutral approach.





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  1. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia « FreeWorld


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