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Monday, October 25, 2010

WR_3.2. The men behind Wikipedia

WR 3.2 The men behind Wikipedia 3rd-4th level 40-50 minutes

GOAL. To write long summaries, using our Wikipedia as a topic.
In our previous worksheet (WR3.1) we read about Columbus origins … in English. Now we will judge Wikipedia value as a ‘Free Edition resource and a successful enterprise’.

WARMING UP.
TASK 1. Have a look at the information displayed on the main page at wiki.org and fill in the blanks with the number of articles (in thousands) found in their pages.
English ..................... Deutsch ...................... Français ..................... Polski .....................
Hihongo (Japanese) ..................... Nederlands ..................... Italiano .....................
Português ..................... Svenska ..................... Español ..................... Català .....................

TASK 2. Have a look at the information displayed below from 22 October 2006

English 1 451 000+ articles
The Free Encyclopedia –
Deutsch 485 000+ Artikel
Die freie Enzyklopädie-
Français - 382 000+ articles
L’encyclopédie libre
Polski 308 000+ haseł
Wolna encyklopedia -

Hihongo - 277 000
Japanese Encyclopedia +
Nederlands 235 000 artikelen
De vrije encyclopedie -
Italiano 208 000+ voci
L’enciclopedia libera -
Português 191 000+ artigos
A enciclopédia livre

- Svenska - 189 000+ artiklar
Den fria encyklopedin
Español - 164 000+ artículos
La enciclopedia libre
Viquipèdia, > 43.791 articles
L’enciclopèdia lliure


Would you agree with this statement: “Wikipedia has been the best available reference resource ever”.

……………………………………….………………………………………………………………………………

TASK 3. After reading these four passages from four Romanic languages, answer the question below:

1 # “También hay quienes sostienen que es posible que fuese portugués, castellano, catalán, mallorquín, gallego o ibicenco. La historia más fidedigna y documentada de Cristóbal Colón comienza..”

2 # „Columb s-a născut în Genova, Italia, în jurul anului 1451. Informaţii despre începutul carierei sale de navigator sunt ne sigure”.
3 # “In ogni caso, ... Di sicuro non si sa quasi niente di lui in data anteriore al 1470 ... In genere tali versioni tendono al nazionalismo”

4 # « Actuellement, divers historiens étudient l'hypothèse selon laquelle il aurait été portugais, catalan, basque, galicien, même grec, et très probablement d'ascendance judaïque »



Q. Do you agree with the following statement: “The same company offers clearly biased content”? …...



TASK4. Read article: ‘Many contributors, common cause’.
Wikipedia volunteers share conviction of doing good for society
Wikipedians are a varied group, and while they may not know one another except online, most share two things: comfort with computers and the online world, and delight with the idea of contributing to a free encyclopedia for the entire world. Here are some faces and voices of Boston-area Wikipedians. [source: Globe Staff - Feb. 13 2006 ]

Emily Dunn, 18, of Lexington, is a senior at Lexington High School.
''I love it. I think it's great. I use it in place of what I used to use Google for. A lot of times, if you Google something, you won't find a basic explanation.
I'm interested in Boston-area articles, Boston music and bands. I started the Amanda Palmer article. I've started a number of articles. The one I'm most proud of is Dinah Cancer and the Graverobbers. The coolest thing is to watch how an article changes. If you look at the first edit [i.e., the original version], it's like, wow, look what it became! ''I have 123 articles on my watch list."
Brandon Stafford, 33, of Cambridge, works in information technology for a local company.
''In about 2002, I started noticing it in Google results and thought, 'This is stupid -- an encyclopedia that anyone could edit?' -- and dismissed it. (…)''It might not be reliable, but I know that people are generally [contributing] because they want to provide accurate information. They're not getting anything out of it -- no money. 'I've realized there are smart people contributing, not just weirdos on the Web -- this is actually a community. People have been very welcoming. . . I'm fairly idealistic and do believe in founder Jimmy Wales's idea of bringing universal access of all human knowledge to everyone."

Chun-Shek Chan, 24, of Somerville, has a bachelor's degree in computer science and a master's in broadcast journalism.
''There are different language versions [of Wikipedia], but some have only a handful of articles. My major contribution is to find articles in English, German, or French and compile them into a Chinese [article], trying to inject something relevant to Chinese culture. If you pull them all together, you get a bigger picture.
''I created an article about an Argentine comic strip called Mafalda, published between 1964 and 1973. I did major work on one English-language article: “US television news”. I went to this article and thought, 'This is bad; I could do better.' I did several days of research and completely rewrote it.
Jeff Raymond, 24, of Millbury, works for a book publisher.
''I was aware of the site before I started to add to it. You start looking at it and before you know it, you think, 'I can add to this or that.' It's an addictive thing. Once I got into it, I started working on independent [rock] bands that didn't have entries. Before you know it, it snowballs.
''It's a neat concept. You get the feeling you might be informing someone about something they might not have known about before. That's the fun of it. Sometimes I think, 'Why do I bother?' but then I realize, 'Who knows who will ever see it, but I'm leaving a mark.' ''. . .The one major downside is that people can put in anything they want, and it's up to others to correct it. It's a definite problem in the arts that I pay attention to."
TASK 5. Answer the following questions about the article you read in Task 4.
Q1. Which are Brandon’s contributions: ……………………………………………………
Chun-Shek’s contributions: …………………………………………………………………………………
Q2. Which are the main viewpoints of these contibutors to the project:
Positive: ………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Downside: ………………………………………………………………………………………………
TASK5. Write a summary about the human profile of wikipedians according to the text you read.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
TASK 6. Here you have a kind of summary for the wikipedians. Underline the key content items.
Wikipedia volunteers share conviction of doing good for society
Wikipedia volunteers | February 13, 2006. Who are the Wikipedians, these unsupervised volunteers, most of whom will never meet face to face? Who are these people who made Wikipedia, with no one leading or directing them?
There is no simple answer, since they're spread all over the English-speaking world. But leaving aside the vandals who do their worst to wreck the project, interviews with participants over the past few weeks can be pieced together into a partial profile. Wikipedians -- as they call themselves -- tend to be young, bright, lively readers. They are highly educated, intellectually curious, sociable, interested in many things and in finding new interests. They are computer-savvy. They are also idealistic and optimistic about people and the good things they can accomplish when they collaborate. And they're confident they can outlast, outwit, and defeat the people they call trolls and vandals, who represent the dark side of Wikipedia.
TASK 7. Read both boxes and include both, ambitions and troubles, in your summary using some of the key lexical elements you underlined in previous task.


1 # ‘‘Wikipedia’s goal is to give everyone on the planet free access to information,’’ Jimmy Wales, the founder of wikipedia.org, said february 2006 in a speech in Boston.

2 # Because of recent vandalism or other disruption, editing of this article by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled.



……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
TASK 8. Read the beginning of this text and continue reading it in annex 1. Underline all the key content elements you would include in your summary.
Bias, sabotage haunt Wikipedia's free world
By David Mehegan, Globe Staff | February 12, 2006
In five years, Wikipedia has amassed a mountain of impressive articles, written by thousands of anonymous contributors. But the dark side of that freedom is that Wikipedia's articles are becoming battlegrounds, pitting writers with biased viewpoints and vandals trying to sabotage entries against a volunteer band of ''Wikipedians" who constantly seek to set the record straight.
For the true believers, Wikipedia is far more than a reference work. It's a movement, a social circle, a proof of the power of free Internet content, even a kind of optimistic cult. ''Wikipedia's goal is to give everyone on the planet free access to information," founder Jimmy Wales said last week in a speech in Boston. ''We're talking about bringing people in to join the global conversation."
At the same time, teachers and college professors are wondering whether they should allow students to cite Wikipedia as a source in term papers, which they are increasingly doing. Given its inherent nature as a work in progress, some wonder whether Wikipedia can ever be a reliable source of information.

TASK 9. Write your own summary on The world of Wikipedia (250-300 words).
You may structure it in the four parts of the text:

Getting it wrong, anyone can edit, the vandal fighters, voices of skepticism

Writing 3.2. Wikipedia key:
TASK 1 & 2. (open)
TASK 3. four passages from four Romanic languages, …Q. Do you agree with the following statement: “The same company offers clearly biased content”?
A: Not that bad > Wikipedians seem quite aware of not a definite anwser for the puzzle of Columbus’ origins.

TASK 4. Q1. Which are their main contibutions to the project:
Brandon: local articles about Boston (rock bands)
Chun-Shek: Chan translate articles to Chinese, create TV news & Mafalda in English.
Q2. Positive: net concept (nothing to hide), usefulness, fairly idealistic, quick changing pace, fun and addictive,
Downside: information accuracy, vandalism in the content, extrawork to fix it up, needs some control
[source: By David Mehegan, Globe Staff | February 13 2006 (abridged) ] http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/02/13/many_contributors_common_cause/

TASK 6. Underline the key content items.
Wikipedia volunteers share conviction of doing good for society
Wikipedia volunteers | February 13, 2006. Who are the Wikipedians, these unsupervised volunteers, most of whom will never meet face to face? Who are these people who made Wikipedia, with no one leading or directing them?
There is no simple answer, since they're spread all over the English-speaking world. But leaving aside the vandals who do their worst to wreck the project, interviews with participants over the past few weeks can be pieced together into a partial profile. Wikipedians -- as they call themselves -- tend to be young, bright, lively readers. They are highly educated, intellectually curious, sociable, interested in many things and in finding new interests. They are computer-savvy. They are also idealistic and optimistic about people and the good things they can accomplish when they collaborate. And they're confident they can outlast, outwit, and defeat the people they call trolls and vandals, who represent the dark side of Wikipedia.
TASK 8. Read the beginning of this text and continue reading it in annex 1. Underline all the key content elements you would include in your summary.
Bias, sabotage haunt Wikipedia's free world
By David Mehegan, Globe Staff | February 12, 2006
In five years, Wikipedia has amassed a mountain of impressive articles, written by thousands of anonymous contributors. But the dark side of that freedom is that Wikipedia's articles are becoming battlegrounds, pitting writers with biased viewpoints and vandals trying to sabotage entries against a volunteer band of ''Wikipedians" who constantly seek to set the record straight.
For the true believers, Wikipedia is far more than a reference work. It's a movement, a social circle, a proof of the power of free Internet content, even a kind of optimistic cult. ''Wikipedia's goal is to give everyone on the planet free access to information," founder Jimmy Wales said last week in a speech in Boston. ''We're talking about bringing people in to join the global conversation."
At the same time, teachers and college professors are wondering whether they should allow students to cite Wikipedia as a source in term papers, which they are increasingly doing. Given its inherent nature as a work in progress, some wonder whether Wikipedia can ever be a reliable source of information.

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