Is there a way to alert Wikipedia to a mistake w/o an account?

I just found some really out-of-date info on Wikipedia. Here is a correct map of Hawai’i County districts.

Here is the Wikipedia page on District 9, with a map of the districts to the top right.

Unless I am losing it (always possible), the two are not the same. And frankly, I trust the Hawaii County government website a lot more than Wikipedia in this case.

Is there a way to alert Wikipedia that they need to update the Puna page (and possibly others, for all I know - I’m too busy to check)? I know you can sign up to be a Wikipedia editor, but I have no intentions of going through that whole process.

I think you can just hit the edit tab at the top right and make whatever changes you want.

Also, while I might be wrong since I don’t edit wiki articles, if you don’t want to actually implement the change, you might be able to make the suggestion on the talk page and let someone else do it.

  1. You can also email the Wikipedia Volunteer Response Team at info-en-o@wikimedia [dot] org, although we may not be able to assist with all suggestions. That list is managed by a small group of volunteers. If you do email, please include the address or title of the article and a description of the issue. Note that this volunteer team cannot assist you in writing entirely new articles, answering questions about things not found on Wikipedia, or resolving disputes about content.


Thank you both. I’ve just used the “talk” function to note that the map is out of date.

You can, and it will show as being edited by a DNS number instead of the usual login ID. I would imagine someone who has taken it upon themselves to monitor changes on the page might scrutinize such edits more closely.

Nitpick; the IP address of the computer that made the edit will be shown, not the DNS address.

D’oh! That’s some nit, that is.

First, that’s not how Wikipedia works. There’s no managing editor who can correct mistakes and assign replacement maps. Any reader has the authority to correct errors. If a map is wrong, that may mean removing it, drawing a new corrected map, and uploading it.

Now maps like this are fairly easy for cartographers like me to make, so I made a new one this morning. But the more I studied it, I was less sure that the numbered electoral districts for council members, which have only numbers, are the same thing as the traditional moku referred to in the Wikipedia article on Puna.

The county planning website does seem to link the district numbers with traditional zone names. However, the Puna map there seems to match the one already on the Wikipedia page for Puna.

So I need some local guidance. Should an article about Puna in fact be illustrated with a map of the current electoral districts 4 & 5—or are the traditional moku something entirely different? Electoral districts are typically made roughly equal in population, and readjusted after every decennial census. Because Hawai’i doesn’t have municipalities, only counties, the administrative geography is often quite different from the mainland. Besides the historical moku, some, perhaps all, islands have property description districts, which may be unrelated to traditional divisions known by residents, and certainly to the changeable electoral districts.

So, CairoCarol, before I upload a new map and link the article to it, are you sure that the electoral district map you pointed to on the county website is the district map that should be used for showing what is Puna and what is not?

Yes, I am sure, in terms of the question “What is the geographic area of District 5?” What people mean when they chuckle fondly or roll their eyes about “Punatics” might or might not precisely match the government definition, but the Wikipedia page claims it is referring to the official districts, so I would hold it to that standard.

But as a matter of principle, why would you trust me? I’m some random person who moved to Hawai’i about three years ago. If you can’t edit the page with confidence in your knowledge, I honestly think it is better for you to leave it alone. Seriously - don’t trust me!

Sure, I trust me - but that’s between me, the organization I represent, and the Council members I work with.

Eek! I don’t know if the above is contributing to any confusion, but there is a huge typo in my OP. I wrote “District 9” because that movie really resonated with me and hence I sort of typed it without thinking.

But what I meant to type was "District 5."

Well, now I’m rather confused.

First, you asked how to get a map mistake corrected. I explained, and even did much of the work. But when I asked for clarification or confirmation, you replied with a passive-aggressive statement that I shouldn’t trust you—yet gratuitously mentioned that you work for county council members. Perhaps I’m misreading your response; perhaps you are only making an epistemological point about how any Wikipedian should be careful of his facts.

I’m honestly trying to be helpful here. What I, a mainlander, don’t have, though, is anything that clearly links the modern-day (changeable) Commissioner District 5 to the name Puna, which is what the Wikipedia entry is about. In my own county, I might say that district 5 is “the Elk Grove area” but that’s a far cry from saying that Elk Grove consists of all of district 5 and only district 5. Point me to such a source for Hawai’i County, and I can confidently upload the new map. Or I can just let the whole thing drop, your original question having been answered.

I’m a mainlander, too. But I don’t see the issue you are talking about on that page. The article you linked to never at any points refers to moku. The lead specifically talks about districts as part of a county, and later in the article they even talk census data. That very much reads like the article, as currently written, discusses the official electoral district.

If the article were about the moku, then I would expect it to begin with something like “Puna is one of the nine moku on the Island of Hawaii,” with moku linked to an article on the concept.

I don’t know if the OP is being epistemological, but I do see a valid point. We’re having this discussion on a board elsewhere, rather than on the Talk page of the article where consensus with the actual editors can be reached. It would make more sense to discuss changes over there.

That said, I’m a big fan of Wikipedia:BOLD, revert, discuss cycle - Wikipedia, so I’d say to go ahead and change it. I’d do it myself, but I tend to avoid editing articles with changed mentioned over here so as to not wind up linking my identities on the two sites.

The key to my response is in the fact I was responding to your admonishment that, “First, that’s not how Wikipedia works.”

You were quite correct in your assumption that I did not understand. What I (evidently erroneously) believed was that people who produce Wikipedia pages are at least somewhat entitled to be considered experts in the subjects they write about.

Therefore, I felt it would be appropriate to point out to the author, “hey, I think your info is out of date - here’s why” and let them evaluate and proceed accordingly. I acknowledged in my OP that I might be “losing it” with regard to my understanding of the situation. I’m vexed to think that you or anyone else would change a Wikipedia page based on input from an anonymous stranger period - much less one who openly acknowledged a bit of doubt.

But, obviously I didn’t understand how Wikipedia works. I’m sorry you went through the trouble of drawing a map (though I don’t understand why you had to do that - is there a rule in Wikipedia against using existing materials with proper attribution? Wasn’t there anything in Wikimedia that would have been suitable? I guess not.)

Anyway, I’m sorry you went through a lot of work for no reason and I can see how that would be frustrating. I hope my explanation goes a little ways toward understanding what I was thinking.

Also, shoutout to @BigT … thanks for voicing what I was thinking. I am by no means a Hawai’i expert, but I’ve had enough exposure that I’d expect to have heard the “moku” concept if it were important in relation to the geographic districts represented by Council members. And yet, I was not familiar with it, and I’m coming up empty when I try to learn more.

(Finally, just a point of clarification - I don’t work for the County Council. I work WITH a few of them often enough that it behooves me to know the geographical district they represent.)

Wikipedia can use images under fair use. However, the policy is to do so only when a free replacement can’t be found. And, by free, I don’t mean “costs nothing,” but truly free, e.g. public domain, uncopyrightable, and similar. Such images can be freely edited or otherwise altered when necessary.

Wikipedia also heavily prefers the SVG format for maps. SVG images look good at any resolution and never get pixelated. This is better for people using higher resolution screens and for printed versions.

The whole idea behind Wikipedia is that it is a free encyclopedia, in the sense I mentioned above. It is governed by consensus and reliable sources. You have linked such a reliable source: the official website of the Hawaiian government.

That is why it is okay for @Mr_Downtown to edit the article. He will leave a citation to the official website to backup the change. And, if any people disagree with the change, they’ll bring it up on the talk page, and try to use citations to back up their claims.

At least, that’s the ideal. In any human endeavor, there are always arguments and such. And I am very much glossing over a lot of rules and guidelines. But, still, studies have shown that Wikipedia is as accurate as any other encyclopedia.

Thanks for the additional info. In case it’s not blindingly obvious already, I’m a bit uninformed about these things.

Let’s go back to the beginning. Why should an article titled Puna be illustrated with a map of current county council districts, which seemingly only have numbers and not names? This is what’s confusing me, as someone not familiar with the minor civil divisions used in Hawaiian counties.

The first words of the article are “Puna is one of the 9 districts…” and the caption under the map reads:

The districts of the Big Island. From Northernmost, clockwise; North Kohala, Hāmākua, North Hilo, South Hilo, Puna (highlighted), Kaʻū, South Kona, North Kona, and South Kohala

The nine districts are the nine areas represented by Council members. District 5 is known as Puna - check the rep’s website. He calls himself:

a Puna Councilmember running for a 2nd term in District 5.

It’s perfectly reasonable to have numbered districts that are known by their names. If you tell me the “North Hilo” district I know right away who is the Council member. But with 9 districts, I probably won’t respond to the number as quickly. The districts have both common names and official numbers. I don’t know if that seems unreasonable to you, but I don’t know why it would be.

By the way, what can you tell me about “moku”? Can you point me to your source of information? I don’t know what that is but it sounds like something I should learn, and as mentioned upthread, Google is not helping me.

I had a look at the details of the current wikipedia map which has a page here. The description there is “Map of Hawaii County districts; Puna highlighted”, so I think that we are looking at the correct political entities. And while Carol might be some random person who moved to Hawai’i about three years ago, the local newspaper seems happy to use the same map as she did for a recent article:

One weird thing is that the Wiki map was uploaded the month after the 2011 redistricting but I think that is likely that the user who uploaded it probably does a lot of maps and didn’t check their data beyond noticing that some boundaries had been changed.

So I think that if the following things happened then the article would work:

  • A new map (and another update when the current redistricting happens later this year)
  • Change the lead line of the article to to note it is a.k.a district 5
  • Change the lead to read ‘county district’ instead of ‘district’

then we should have a fairly accurate article. Is that correct?

I’m still uneasy about equating Puna with one or more of the electoral districts, because those change every 10 years (as the news story indicates). The county council seems to refer to districts only by number.

While locals may informally think of them as the same area, technically they don’t seem to be coincident.

We’re used to seeing references saying things like “Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), who represents Austin.” That doesn’t mean his entire district is within the city of Austin, or even that all of Austin is within his district.

I have no deep knowledge of traditional Hawaiian moku, but there’s a basic description here. Pages like this one make reference to the traditional divisions. A National Park Service page hints at some scholarship on moku—and a map—but offers no link to the cited document. This image search leads to several academic publications on the moku/ahupua‘a concept. And here’s an academic project to map Puna. And of course there’s a podcast on moku.

Thanks for the input. I’ll read up.