Over the last few weeks I have genuinely enjoyed re-engaging with Wikipedia. The focus has been my biography (Biography of a Living Person or BLP in Wiki-speak) but the learning has been much wider than that.

I have come to see Wikipedia as almost symbolic of the trajectory we are on. In the strange space of this huge online resource – truth and fairness slowly win out. The interactions reflect cooperation on a vast scale, with the voices dedicated to the compelling goals of Wikipedia slowly gaining ascendacy. There are numerous self-serving, disruptive and igoroant forces at play but they gradually are overwhelmed by a strong cooperative and generous spirit – framed by a belief in the principles and policies of Wikipedia.

I confess I used to be quite sceptical about Wikipedia and perhaps like many thought of it as little more than huge bunfight for control of the agenda. The truth is much more nuanced. In reality the strong policies and procedures set down and agreed to by the collective ensure a trajectory towards not just fairness but the truth.

So, I am coming out of the closet and will be contributing to Wikipedia under the username XcommR. The username means nothing but I wanted it to be able to be connected with me directly (as a Google search will). I have previously contributed (in the talk space) about my own BLP under a couple of clearly identified (signed MH) IP addresses. In line with the values of Wikipedia I will not be directly editing either my BLP or the new article on REDBUBBLE (written yesterday by an editor) but will add comments in the Talk Space, I have an article underway on the Australian Performing Group and will do some editing work of other BLPs.

I want to publicly acknowledge the considerable amount of work done by editors on both my BLP and the article on REDBUBBLE. No they are not factually 100% accurate but they represent a clear dedication to the policies of Wikipedia around dealing with BLPs, verifiability of sources, neutral point of view, no original research.

In closing I would suggest it is very worthwhile to engage with Wikipedia but take the time to learn what it is really about. There is a richness and dedication I had not truly appreciated. And I think our human fate is going to depend on this level of genuine, selfless cooperation (well beyond Wikipedia). I hope XcommR can make a small contribution.

Journal Comments

  • Paul Louis Villani
  • H Maria Perry
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