Working with Wikipedia has been an eye-opening experience, to say the least.
When we first talked about this assignment in class my thought was, “Oh, this will be a breeze”. I love research and am totally invested in Ochs’ legacy. After completing this assignment, I can now acknowledge my lack of awareness around the work that goes into editing with Wikipedia and I have great respect for those persons that give up their free time to work on this collaborative project on a regular basis. They are committed individuals.
Here are a few thoughts on this experience.
- Help Is Available
I know nothing about online editing/coding/etc. Zilch, nada, zero. I am very pleased (and honestly a bit surprised) by my ability to learn features within the Wiki world. I created a basic page from scratch. I was able to create headers, link to categories and make a fancy infobox on the side of my page. I was able to do so with the help of the comprehensive how-to sections from Wikipedia and the incredible power of YouTube.
- Quantity Leads to Quality
Working with an encyclopedia, you must use a good self-editing system when looking at adding new information. I read over 60 pages of academic text and searched many online resources for little nuggets of Phil Ochs gold. Ultimately, I was able to meet the requirement of 300-600 words, but it took some work to do so. While at times it felt like I was never going to find anything of substance to add to my edits, the time I put in gave me a stronger grasp on Ochs and his impact. That experience will be beneficial for the final project.
- Learn Your Tools
For me, some of the most challenging aspects of this assignment revolve around the dashboard that we were using for edits and feedback. I am still not 100% certain I was using it correctly, and I never quite understood how to communicate within the workspace. If I could go back and do it again, I would set aside time to learn the system better.
- Snow Days Ruin Everything
Normally, I am thrilled to get an unexpected day out of class. Not this time. I was really looking forward to an in-class discussion about this process. I know I should have been better at adjusting my communication style to our online options of communication, and if I could do this assignment again, I would utilize those tools better.
In fact, my personal goal for the rest of the semester is to work at communicating more consistently in Slack.
Overall, I feel accomplished for finding information to add. I feel lucky to be learning these skills (even when it is hard and out of my comfort zone). I feel encouraged for stepping out of my comfort zone. I feel silly for not reaching out for more help. I feel excited about our trip to Woody Guthrie Center.
Accomplished, lucky, encouraged, silly and excited are emotions I can get behind.
The other feelings I have had during this process, including being exhausted, being mild to moderately confused, and feeling frustrated and embarrassed for not feeling confident in my online abilities have made this experience one that I am glad to leave behind but also one that I am grateful for.
Like I tell my Camp Fire kids, sometimes growing is uncomfortable, but the end goal is worth it.