User:FriendlyFred

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My editing of Wikipedia is entirely pragmatic. I agree with much of the criticism of Wikipedia, but think it is worthwhile improving articles that are within my areas of interest rather than to ignore the spread of misinformation. I do not believe that a Neutral Point of View (NPOV) can be achieved through the wisdom of crowds, since I do not encounter crowds of editors, a perception supported by the studies that show a steep decline in the number of active contributors.[1] [2] Instead, articles on many topics have only a small group of contributors. Without a crowd, the quality of an article is dependent upon old-fashioned expertise whether gained though formal education or otherwise.[3]

My application of expertise in editing articles is in accordance with my reading of the WP NPOV guideline that the scholarly point of view is the neutral point of view. Rather than original research I use my expertise as a social scientist to do the scholarly research needed to find and summarize reliable sources. When a topic warrants it, and other points of view are noteworthy because of their popularity, they are mentioned but not in a way as to imply they are equally valid. When the topic of any article falls within the domain of an academic discipline which has a clear consensus, then the article must take that as its point of view. I have a BA in psychology and an MA in Urban Studies/Community Development. I can read a wide range of social science journal articles with some expert understanding.

My current focus are a number of articles related to indigenous cultural appropriation in sports, including one on the Washington NFL team's name and logo. I have no personal interest in the topics being neither indigenous American nor a sports fan. My only connection is having been born about four miles from where FedEx Field is now located. I read the main article entirely be accident. Having access to a university library, I began to do research and found many journal articles and books written by social scientists. These sources all define the topic as an example of ethnic stereotyping that is at best prejudicial and possibly discriminatory. As I began adding content using these references, there was some resistance to change but I soon found that I was essentially the only contributing editor. Edits by others are mainly grammar and spelling correction, and minor rewording that does not alter the meaning of the content. Lacking substantial feedback, I can only assume that since my edits remain, they meet with general approval.

At the conference, I would like to discuss:

  • I have had little collaboration/discussion with other editors, and would like to know how to generate more.
  • After more than two years of editing a topic with significant media coverage, I am now routinely finding new journalistic sources that obviously have used the WP article as a reference in their writing for publication. I would think that this would be a common occurrence, and an interesting topic for discussion.

References

  1. The Decline of Wikipedia
  2. The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System: How Wikipedia's Reaction to Popularity Is Causing Its Decline
  3. For example, in the WP article on Evolution the PhD biochemist Tim Vickers has more edits than any other contributor by a wide margin, and only 10% are minor.