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Public outreach/Academy/RfC/Bill's talk

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preliminary notes for an introductory talk

Brief tour[edit]

  • Remember the adjective: "heterogeneous"
  • Articles have different scope (start from most specific and work up, e.g., up to leukemia, thence to cancer, thence to dab)
    • Possibly develop roadmap script, e.g., main article of category, main article of parent category, etc.
  • Articles are organized in several ways, e.g., category system, lists, hierarchical tree of articles, search
  • Script to give slide-show tour of random links on a page, or in a category


  • show students' work on coverage, both of general topics and of scientific topics
  • most scientific topics are covered
  • highlight remarkable coverage of some areas: enzymes, RNA families, human genes, etc.
  • pathologies of emphasis

Target audience and depth[edit]

  • Similar to a mini-review written for peers in another field, BUT...
  • In a mini-review, you don't need to write well, because your peers will understand you even if you don't
  • In a Wikipedia article, you need to write intelligibly for the (educated) lay-person (writing is harder, but content is easier)
  • Methods for giving background information

How good are these articles?[edit]

  • Introduce assessment system and summarize my students' work
  • Who makes these assessments? Wikiprojects (foreshadowing Tim's talk)
  • How many FA's exist in biomedical fields? Typical properties of FA's
  • Typical properties of articles ranked lower
  • Show them that they can assess the health of their field's coverage using script
  • Introduce Institute lists, tables

Page views and languages[edit]

  • Show page views for typical biomedical FA such as Virus, DNA and Immune system (>1M/yr)
  • No correlation with quality? (check this hypothesis; note danger of misinformation)
  • Talk about TFA page views and mention in-the-news events (whet appetite for Tim's talk)
  • Variety of languages and getting articles translated

Development of articles[edit]

  • Show movie of development of "Immune system" (give them script to do this for any article)
  • "Wisdom of the crowds"? not really; show typical FA contributor lists (another chance to prep the audience for Tim!)
  • "Anything can be added"? not really; basic principles WP:V, NPOV, NOR, NPOV, COPY, etc. but IAR

Article structure and formatting tools[edit]

TMI for this introductory talk? Parhaps incorporate basic elements into Brief tour section?
  • Lead most important part
  • Organization of body
  • Target length, daughter articles, dab's
  • Closing sections
  • xlinking
  • Images, animations, galleries, slideshows (implement this), imagemaps, etc.
  • Other cool formatting, navboxes, infoboxes, templates

Common critiques[edit]

  • Poor coverage
  • Poor quality
  • Not authoritative
  • Unreliable accuracy

Why you might want to contribute[edit]

  • Public outreach
    • Unique reach of Wikipedia
    • Convey results of publicly-funded research to the public
    • Price of scientific illiteracy, misinformation
    • Inspire taxpayers to support your research; funding!
  • Inspire the next generation of students in your field
    • Share the excitement/coolness of your work
    • Recruiting (under)graduate students to your lab/field
    • Inspire high-school and elementary-school students
  • Teacher/professor training
    • If they understand it, they can pass it on to their students
  • Other motivations
    • Colleagues developing teaching materials
    • Direct feedback on teaching materials
    • Fun of collaboration
    • Story of a patient coming in with the doctor's own article
    • Explain to friends and family what you do

How you can contribute[edit]

See Public_outreach/Academy/RfC/Ways of contributing.

Sister projects[edit]

  • WP:NOT a textbook
  • Wikibooks, Wikiversity, Wiktionary, Wikisource

Obsolete sections[edit]

General introduction[edit]

Give this part of the talk on Wednesday night to save time?
  • giant encyclopedia written by volunteers
  • part of the Open Education Resources movement, as well as Free Culture
  • content licensed under the Creative Commons license
  • hardware and software infrastructure maintained by the WMF, a nonprofit charity relying on donations
  • fundamentally a database in which even the smallest changes are time-stamped and recorded indefinitely (maybe TMI?)