Wikipedia, the good and the bad

I’ve edited Wikipedia in minor ways: there is one article that’s almost entirely my work, another couple that I’ve edited heavily and a sprinkling of minor stuff. So this entry is mainly prejudice confirmation, but a comment by Zora on Making Light supports what I’ve always suspected heavy involvement would be like, both the good and the bad:

One strength that folks here haven’t mentioned is that if you take your editing seriously, it’s an educational process. I started by editing the Muhammad article and ended up owning shelves full of scholarly texts on early Islamic history. Every argument sent me to the books and I learned more and more. I’d say that I have at least the equivalent of an MA in Islamic studies after that experience.

The grind sets in when you start having the same arguments over and over, with endless new waves of idiots who don’t intend to learn anything. If you’re just replaying old fights, you aren’t learning anything yourself.

… It is FUN to see a good article emerging out of a back-and-forth with someone who disagrees with you, but does so productively.

The POV warriors, however, were tireless. They drove me out. I was losing my temper and wasting my time trying to keep controversial articles respectable. I ended up feeling as if I were shoveling dung, and hating it.