Catching up - part 2

Posted Dec 01, 2008 in Events, Miscellaneous, Politics.

Over the last year, a large part of my life has been devoted to Wikipedia. I've been a regular Wikipedian since the summer of 2005; as a fan of all flavors of Battlestar Galactica, I began editing (and creating) pages associated with the new version created by Star Trek alumnus Ronald D. Moore. Since then, I have spent much of my time monitoring recent changes for harmful edits, paying particular attention to articles that get a lot of vandalism, such as the article on atheism. Recently, however, my focus has been on articles associated with the recent presidential election.

I have no vote in United States elections, being a British citizen, but certainly I have been interested in the outcome. In the early stages of the election, I was hoping that Joe Biden would come out on top. As the primary season progressed, it became apparent that the man to watch was Barack Obama. I knew nothing about the man, so I looked him up on Wikipedia (like you do). I was disappointed to find that the article was under seige by (mostly racist) vandals, so I quickly became a regular editor. During the late 2007 and the bulk of 2008, I have been patrolling many articles associated with Obama; reverting vandalism and monitoring edits for neutrality and verifiability. This quickly became an enormous task, with my editing contributions spiking from 50-odd edits per month to well in excess of 400 - most of which were frenetic discussions on article discussion pages.

I was pleased with the result of what became an historic election, not because I believe the best man one (although I do think that), but because I know that visitors using Wikipedia to look up information about the candidates will have been presented with high-quality articles, properly sourced and verified, that would help them to make informed decisions about which candidate to vote for. The Obama-related articles were as accurate as possible - largely free of the blatant attempts by misguided Republicans, conservative ideologues and racists to use them as a means to misinform and spread fear and lies. Although I continue to monitor these, the noise level has significantly dropped since the election. I am back to doing less than a hundred edits per month, and I have altered (and shortened) my watchlist to focus on other things a bit more.


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    Amazing. So, how are you doing Jessey? Happy Festivus! :)

    Posted by David Collantes on Dec 10, 2008.