editing a wiki article

I’ve noticed a wiki article that has some factual inaccuracies in it and am toying with the idea of editing it. what’s the benefit of logging in? is it just to build up some reputation amongst the editors in a particular field? if I’m just interested in this as a one-off, should I bother creating an account?

It gives your edit more weight in the eyes of stupid/careless editors who sometimes assume that “Anonymous” = “spam” (which, to their credit, is often true).

It also make it easier to track your edits across multiple articles or time periods, makes you easier to talk to (you get a stable talk page not dependent on your IP address-du-jour), gives you a pretty useful Watch page so you can keep track of further changes to that article, etc. There’s no real downside to it. Besides, once you make one edit, that could very well turn into two or three and before you know it, Wikis take up half your day…

And then you discover the Dope and forget all about that.

thanks. that’s sort of what I thought.

I might add that it’s psychologically satisfying to get a reply from Reply.


That’s why I talk to myself all day long. (And they thought I was just crazy.)

I started editing Wiki articles anonymously (which is not completely anon, because they have an IP address), then signed up as a user. So far I have just done some minor corrections, and haven’t had anyone come along and reverse my changes.

and how do you suggest that a citation is needed? one of the statements in the article sounds wrong to me, but it’s the old thing about proving a negative.

Edit the article, and after the suspect fact, enter {{fact}}. Then the little [citation needed] doohickey will appear when you preview/save it.

And, registering masks your IP, so if you’re working for the CIA and editing the entry for your employer, the Wikipedia Scanner application won’t be able to see your IP. [1]

[1] See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign | WIRED

Thanks. I’m not trying to be snarky by adding a “cite needed” - I know a fair bit about the area in question, and the particular unsupported statement that I’m interested in came as a surprise to me. I’m curious to see if someone can provide a citation to support it - may actually be helpful to me down the road if someone can back up the statement.

Good point. I’d better log on, then, to hide the fact that I’m a member of one of the feared northern CIA sleeper cells, only now coming out of hibernation as spring hits Saskatchewan. :slight_smile:

No need to feel that you’re being snarky or pedantic in asking for a cite on Wikipedia. There aren’t supposed to be any unsupported statements there, nor should there be original research.

You can also use the form {{Fact|date=March 2009}}, which will provide a record of when the statement in question was tagged. (Although if you don’t, a robot may come along and automatically change your “{{Fact}}” to “{{Fact|date=March 2009}}”.)

That way, you can give 'em, say, a month and if nobody can substantiate the claim that’s setting off your BS meter you can just yank that sucker out of there.

I edit a lot of Wikipedia articles, and adding “cite” and “fact” tags is a basically dickish thing to do. You’re asking other people to do work…that you should be doing. Instead of putting in a cite tag, why not do the work of finding the reference, if you know one exists? Otherwise, you’re not helping. I add tons of references, and I don’t need someone who can’t be bothered to do the actual work “grading” everyone else’s work.

I know I’m ranting, but it’s thankless work, and it doesn’t need to be made less pleasant by non-contributors.

that’s just my point - I don’t know that the reference exists. I’ve worked in the particular area for some time, and this is the first time I’ve seen this particular assertion of fact being made. As well, I don’t have a clear idea where to find the evidence to back up the assertion.

I’m curious to see if someone can back it up with a citation.

You could look through the history of the article and see who added the claim and write them, assuming they are a registered user. But adding a “cite” or “fact” flag craps up an article.

personally, I like seeing a comment that other editors have noticed the need for a citation or reference - i think it helps with the overall credibility. Plus, handling it privately undercuts the strength of wiki - that of harnessing a wide number of people and their knowledge. Once there’s a “cite needed” tag, it’s no longer just the original author who may look into it - anyone reading it may decide to research the point, or may be able to contribute to making it a better article.

Is there any easy way to do that? I’ve gone through the previous versions on the history page, but it can take a long time for an article that’s been edited often.

Enter WikiBlame.

It’s no more dickish than asking for a cite here. It’s the job of those making an assertion to back it up, not leave it to others.

That’s ridiculous. There are lots of things that need to be done that people don’t have time to do right away. And, frankly, most of the time I add those tags, I know there aren’t any real cites or facts to back them up. The existence of one of those tags makes it easier to remove the whole thing completely later. Removing it right away pisses some people off. And, on top of that,t he whole point of the place is that it’s a collaboration, so requesting other people to help out is kind of the point.

I’ve been editing Wikipedia for some five years or more, and very, very few people think adding those tags are in any way “dickish.” Hell, with as uptight as so many people there are about anything that could possibly be exaggerated, twisted and lied about to have the appearance of something insulting so they can go whine somewhere, if it was at all dickish the tags would have been removed ages ago.