Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Wikipedia has good intentions

Amanda Poll


Back in high school (three years ago) there was an uproar in my English class about the shut down of Wikipedia. Wikipedia shut down for 24 hours in protest against anti-piracy bills. Anyone who says that Wikipedia is not important, is wrong. Everyone went nuts over the shut down. It was a big deal then and after reading a couple articles I understand why.

Free for all

Wikipedia is for the people and made by the people. It gets better. It is even free. Wikipedia is one of the many projects from the Wikimedia movement. Wikimedia is a non-profit organization that has created a list of "free knowledge projects." Wikimedia has created so much more than just Wikipedia. Wikimedia created Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikispecies, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wikivoyage, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata and more. Wikimediafoundation.org says, "all contributions are released under a free Creative Commons license, meaning that any project content may be freely used, edited, copied, and redistributed, subject to the terms of the license." Anyone can get their hands on any Wikimedia project and add their own contributions and edits.

Good intentions

Wikipedia is a great way to gain information. Wikipedia is almost always the first thing to pop up on a Google search. The Wikimedia Foundation Guiding Principles are different from other codes of ethics. Wikimedia emphasizes free. From what I have read Wikimedia seems genuine in their mission to share knowledge freely on the web, allowing free access to anyone. Wikimedia is multilingual in most of its projects allowing people from all sorts of backgrounds and countries that speak languages other than English to access any of the free knowledge databases. Wikimedia even tries to do everything they do in the public eye. Transparency is the second principle from the Wikimedia Foundation Guiding Principles. Wikimedia almost seems to good to be true. "The Wikimedia Foundation wants to be accountable to the people who create the Wikimedia projects, to donors, and to readers," which is stated from the Accountability principle. The principles and their descriptions are unique compared to other codes of ethics I have read, such as the SPJ Code of Ethics.


Different is good

A guiding principle that I found to be unique from the guideline principles was Shared Power. The foundation shares "decision-making with the global community." The words, "Free Speech," are another guideline the foundation aims to follow. The Wikimedia Foundation states, "in making decisions, we will not allow censorship of the projects as a means to facilitate other strategic goals: to the contrary, our strategic goal is to preserve and make available the material in the projects in perpetuity, and other initiatives must be consistent with that mission." Wikimedia is promoting and branding itself as a good cause and a foundation that wishes to contribute knowledge freely to everyone.

"Wikipedia is not a source"

Wikipedia is perfect for the web. The web is accessible to most everyone and from every background. Wikipedia also has many similarities like social media with the ability to post and edit things online. It is a wonderful tool for information. Students like me have heard the words, "Wikipedia is not a source," drilled into our heads for years. I may not use Wikipedia for my papers but I still use Wikipedia in almost anything I look up online. The database is promoting knowledge and learning. We all mistakes and nothing is perfect. Not everything on Wikipedia is true but it is a start. It promotes so many good qualities. Wikimedia has started these projects for everyone to learn and share knowledge. Wikimedia allows everyone to post and edit information from (hopefully) a cited source. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia made by "us". I see nothing wrong with the intentions of aiding in the sharking of knowledge. We all know that Wikipedia is not a credible source but we all still use it anyone. The foundation's mission is a breath of fresh air. After reading about Wikimedia I now support the goals of the company hope that people see the bigger picture and message Wikimedia is sending.

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