Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Why 'Shut up and Wiki'? (Tseen Khoo)

Photo by Alex Wong | unsplash.com
I'll admit it. I am a latecomer when it comes to things Wiki.

It's not like I've never used Wikipedia, linked to it in blogposts, talked about entries to others, or donated to the Wikimedia Foundation.

I've done all these things, sometimes compulsively, multiple times.

But it never occurred to me that I could actually contribute to it in a more substantial way.

Until I met Dr Thomas Shafee here at La Trobe, and listened to him speak on this topic a couple of times.

It was a revelation to hear from someone who was so au fait with the Wikipedia ethos and how it worked. I had not realised how strong the infrastructure for the platform was in terms of verifying and strengthening evidence bases for statements and details. I had assumed - very wrongly, it seems - that it was a bit of a free-for-all because, y'know, crowdsourced information.

How wrong I was was brought home to me when I contemplated creating a new entry, and realised I hadn't gathered the necessary information/evidence to have it stand up to scrutiny. The sources I was using as evidence weren't strong enough. Though I now know (mostly) what I need to do, the experience gave me newfound respect for those who work in this space and give of their knowledge and time so generously.

Thomas wrote a great post for us about being a Wikipedian a little while ago, and this idea has stuck with me:
These efforts are important, as Wikipedia is much improved by the presence of scientific editors to expand, correct and curate its pages. It's similarly important for scientists to know that their field is accurately and thoroughly covered.
The idea of researchers contributing to such a huge, important public resource is fantastic. We've all heard the dismissive comments about Wikipedia and it's true that what's presented there is only as good as the people who are willing to help shape that information.

See yourself as part of the solution? Join us for 'Shut up and Wiki'!  

To support these activities and grow contributors' knowledge and skills on the platform, we're trialing 'Shut up and Wiki' sessions for six months. Thomas has very generously agreed to be the host and resident Wikipedia expert for each of the sessions.

I'm particularly driven to contribute because I know how underrepresented racial minority artists and writers are in most areas, Wiki entries included. I helped found a whole new area of research (i.e. Asian Australian studies), so why not make sure that this information is as readily accessible as possible?
Shut up and Wiki banner - First Fridays, 1-2pm, Library, Bundoora Campus
What is 'Shut up and Wiki'?
‘Shut up and Wiki’ is an informal community of practice where you can devote time to editing, writing, and developing Wiki resources.

We use the ‘Shut up and write’ format of 25-minute focused sprints (a.k.a. pomodoros), with a short break in between. So, the format each Friday will be:

1:00   Arrive and settle in
1:05   1st pomodoro
1:30   5 minute break
1:35   2nd pomodoro
1:55   Finish session

How experienced do I need to be?
No prior experience is necessary! A Wiki expert (Thomas!) will be on hand to teach the platform and answer queries.

Optionally, we recommend:
What do I bring?
1. Laptop or other device to work on, and
2. Lunch (if you’d like).
How do I join?
There is no formal joining process – just turn up! The first Friday dates for the 'Shut up and Wiki' trial are:
  • APRIL 6th (Venue: Bundoora Library Room 1.21)
  • MAY 4th (Venue: Bundoora Library VizLab, Research Commons, Level 2)
  • JUNE 1st (Venue: Bundoora Library Room 1.21)
  • JULY 6th (Venue: Bundoora Library Room 1.21)
  • AUGUST 3rd (Venue: Bundoora Library Room 1.21)
Here's the PDF flyer for Shut up and Wiki for your downloading pleasure!

The event contact is Dr Thomas Shafee (T.Shafee@LaTrobe.edu.au).

See you on the next first Friday for Wiki learning and good company?

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