Wikipedia has always seemed like a vast desert of smart people who edit things without interacting with normal humans like myself. Stacy Schiff’s New Yorker article says,
“Wikipedia is an online community devoted not to last night’s party or to next season’s iPod but to a higher good. It is also no more immune to human nature than any other utopian project. Pettiness, idiocy, and vulgarity are regular features of the site. Nothing about high-minded collaboration guarantees accuracy, and open editing invites abuse. Senators and congressmen have been caught tampering with their entries; the entire House of Representatives has been banned from Wikipedia several times.”
When creating a Wikipedia account I was intimidated. What did I possibly know better than other people on the internet? I went to the page of my favorite magazine about interior design, Domino, and looked around. Then it hit me.
I can spell.
While this may seem like a minor skill going to such an accredited university, people on the internet are careless with their grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Five seconds into reading the entry about Domino proved Wikipedia was no exception. Domino was frequently not capitalized, book titles were mislabeled, and puntuation had run amok.
Editing grammar seemed safe enough; I would not run into the die-hards Schiff mentioned in her article who often argue over tiny corrections. I decided to follow a few clicks and ended up looking at a list of online magazines. I could still only find articles to edit slightly, such as Queerty, an online queer news publication whose entry needed a comma.
Now that I know how to edit entries maybe once I’m more well-read on a subject I will be more adventurous with my editing. After all, I have a lot of thoughts on Justin Timberlake’s fake house forclosure…