China Beat Archive


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October 9, 2008 in The China Beat


Copyright October 9, 2008 Charles W. Hayford. Used by permission.


How do we improve the coverage, reliability, and balance for China? With all the objections listed in my previous post, in the end, clearly we can’t achieve perfection, only make improvements. If you are already participating, you have doubtless come to terms with the culture of the natives; if you now join, remember to respect our perhaps outlandish ways. Like members of any other cult(ure), we have to live with each other. Some Wikipedians are nuts, some are smart and generous, most are trying to be useful, some are all of the above. Wikipedia enthusiasts simply accept that the project is a work in progress – themonkeys are still typing.

First a quick reminder on using it, and, for those of you who are teachers, how to get your students to use it without getting burned. Luckily, Wikipedians are documentative. The article “Researching With Wikipedia” lays out most of the do’s and don’t’s. The summary at the head of the article puts it in a nutshell: “You should not use only Wikipedia for primary research (unless you are writing a paper about Wikipedia).” The section on Tips brings together a lot of information.

Teachers will find Wikipedia an inexhaustible source of “teachable moments.”Strange Facts in the History Classroom: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wiki(pedia) by Christopher Miller (American Historical AssociationPerspectives May 2007) claims that what is “most troubling about the ‘anti-Wiki’ movement is that it tends to single out Wikipedia for being an online source rather than for being an encyclopedia.”