Monday, February 20, 2006

I Am A Wikipedia Newbie

It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I realized the company for didn't have an entry in Wikipedia. My employer is a fairly large networking solutions and managed services provider that is publicly traded, so I was a little surprised. A little over a week ago I decided that my company needed to have a Wikipedia entry, so I seeded it with a small snippet.

I was very happy indeed to see my company listed on Wikipedia, and emailed a colleague of mine. He responded to my email asking why the entry was marked for deletion. Exactly one hour and two minutes after I added my entry it was flagged as nominated for deletion by one of the Recent Changes Patrol. The RC Patrol is a group of volunteers that review recent changes and additions for harmful edits. In my case this experienced patroller has over 5000 Wikipedia edits, and an award.

At this point my entry had not been deleted, it was only nominated for deletion. The notice on my entry linked to a discussion page about deleting the entry, and there were already two votes for deletion. I of course added my vote to keep the entry, and gave a single sentence explanation. Several other users followed suit, voting to keep the entry. The part that surprised me in this whole matter was that I didn't know the other people voting, but they somehow found the deletion discussion page, and made their vote.

Five days later the nomination for deletion was removed from my entry, with the final vote being to keep the entry. This same user also did some minor cleanup of the entry and marked it as a stub. With my entry being maked as a stub, it appears on a special pages where users can quickly browse all entries marked as a stub. My next step was to add some substantial content.

Thanks to Google search and the Way Back Machine, I was able to find a lot of information on my company. Today I went to add the content to the page, and it looks like someone else made some edits to the page. He added quite a few links to other Wikipedia entries and also categorized by entry as a Company.

During my research I found that my company had supported H.O.P.E. , a hacker's convention, in the late 90's. The Wikipedia H.O.P.E article noted that the conference was supported by "Bell Technology Group", the prior name of my company. I wanted to link the two articles, but because the name had changed, I didn't want to link them directly. I decided to instead set up a redirect. There is a whole help page on this, and lists many of the reasons you might create a redirect, one of them being to redirect from an alias. So I set up a redirect from "Bell Technology Group", then edited the H.O.P.E. page to point to that entry.

In summary, I found that Wikipedia is very easy to contribute to, and once you contribute you just want to contribute even more. It is somewhat addictive once you figure it out. I also learned that I will make mistakes, that I will post content that isn't quite up to Wikipedia's standards. I also learned that there are thousands of people that have my back, that will clean up my entries and make them sweet smelling. And lastly, I learned that not everyone will agree with my new entries, and that systems are in place to ensure proper discussion prior to deletion.

The latest version of the entry can be found here.


Anonymous said...

I am also a Wikipedia newbie. And I am unlucky and my company is not listed in Wikipedia :(.
Each time I add my company page, it is deleted from Wiki by the editor for copyright violation of my company site. I wrote mails to Wiki, but I still can't understand where should I include the GNFL note. And why most companies don't have this note on their sites in Terms of use section, but they are listed? Can you help, Robert?

Robert Hanson said...

I am not sure what the GNFL note is, I didn't have that problem. Can you explain, or have a link to info on it?

Anonymous said...

sorry I mixed letters, it is GFDL. And it sounds like this (I took it from wikipedia letter):
I hereby assert that I am the creator and/or sole owner of the exclusive copyright of WORK [ insert link ].
I agree to publish that work under the GFDL.
I acknowledge that I grant anyone the right to use the work, even in a commercial product, and to modify it according to their needs.
I am aware that I always retain copyright of my work, and retain the right to be attributed in accordance with the license chosen. Modifications others make to the work will not be attributed to me
I acknowledge that I cannot withdraw this agreement, and that the text may or may not be kept permanently on a Wikimedia project.

Today I also wrote a Help me question on My Talk. I hope smn comes and help me :)

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