Wikipedia:School and university projects/User:Piotrus/Fall 2009

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This page has information on planning and resources for the online writing assignment taught by Piotr Konieczny for the University of Pittsburgh's Global Societies (SOC 0317 fall 2009).

The goal of this assignment is for several groups of students to choose an underdeveloped or missing article on Wikipedia, related to sociology and globalization, and improve it to Good Article status during the duration of the course (4 months).

Introduction for students[edit]

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, is an encyclopedia that can be edited by anyone. It has many millions (!) of editors (Wikipedians), many of whom are students like you. The vast majority of them are volunteers who find editing this site to be an enjoyable experience, even a hobby. Therefore I hope you will enjoy this exercise and the course! After all, there are not many exercises that tell you to do something that over a million people think is 'fun'. :)

Wikipedia:Tutorial is the best place to start your adventure with this wiki. Please familiarize yourself with instructions for students and if you have any questions, check the Help:Contents and if you cannot find what you are looking for, ask the friendly people at Wikipedia:Help desk - or just contact me.

Before making any major edits, it is recommended that you create an account. You definitely need to have an account before attempting to do any wiki-related coursework (otherwise we will be unable to confirm if you have completed the exercise). After you create an account, if you know your group already, add your name to the relevant section of this page.

Remember that Wikipedia is not a project limited only to our university. We are guests here and we should all behave accordingly. Please make sure you read Wikipedia:Wikiquette. Please try to think what impression you want other Wikipedians to have of our university — and of yourselves.

You should expect that the course lecturer, other students, your friends, and even (or especially) other Wikipedia editors (not affiliated with our course) will leave you various messages on your talk pages. When working on the exercises below, you should log in to Wikipedia and check your messages as often as you check your email (I strongly recommend you read 'as often' as 'at least daily'). Whenever you have a new message and are logged to Wikipedia, you will see a large orange message, 'You have new messages', on every Wikipedia page you access. To make this message disappear, you should click on it and read the message. Note that it is customary to leave new messages at the bottom of the talk/discussion pages, and to reply to somebody's messages on their talk pages. If you want to leave somebody a message, make sure you are editing their talk page, not their user page. Remember to sign your talk and discussion messages.

Some other useful tips: whenever you are done with an edit and want to save a page, fill out the edit summary box and view a preview of the page after your edit to make sure it looks as you actually want it to look. Only then click the "Save Page" button. You may find the page history tool and watchlist tools to be very useful when you want to check what changes by other editors have been made to the article(s) you are working on.

Please direct any questions to my talk page. You are welcome to send emails, or drop by to see me during our office hours, and ask about Wikipedia how-to; but please try to find the answer first on the Help:Contents.

Stages and deadlines[edit]

  • On Monday, September 14, we will have a segment introducing this assignment. Students who by that time have created a Wikipedia account and made at least one constructive edit to Wikipedia will receive an extra credit point (1P)
  • Start. Get familiar with wikipedia. Make some trial edits, however minor. Demystify the process. Leave behind any sense of intimidation. As wikipedia puts it, learn to be bold. Learn basic editing skllls.
  • By Monday, September 21, everyone should have created a Wikipedia account (1P), finished the Wikipedia Tutorial (including making an edit in the Wikipeida Tutorial Sandbox) (1P), made at least one constructive edit to Wikipedia (outside the sandbox - subject doesn't matter) (1P), joined a group (1P) and informed the course instructor (Piotr Konieczny - User:Piotrus (User_talk:Piotrus) about your account name, which group you've joined and the edit(s) you made (1P). You should do so by leaving a message on the course instructor talk page. Finishing this assignment on time is worth 5% of the course grade. If you successfully post a diff of your edit to the instructor's Wikipedia talk page you will earn one extra point (1P).
  • Plan. But minor edits alone won't get us much closer towards Good Article status. We need to have a sense of what more needs to be done, and an overall plan for the article. Look at models and guidelines (e.g. Manual of Style or the Guide for nominating good articles). What sections are required? What will be the article structure? What information is needed? Who in your group will write what?
  • By Monday, October 5, each group should have an article selected and a plan (who will read what, who will work on what aspects of the article) in place. You should inform the instructor of your article selection (you can email the instructor or post a message to his talk page, or talk to him before or after the class). Make sure it is listed next to your group in the Articles edited section of our wiki page. Finishing this assignment on time is worth 5% of the course grade.
  • By Wednesday, October 14, you should create and write preliminary "to-do" list on article talk pages, explaining who will do what, and inform the instructor that you have done so. If the article does not exist, you should stub (start) it (see what makes a good stub). Finishing this assignment on time is worth 5% of the course grade.. Groups which create very good to do lists and stubs may receive up to 2 extra points (2P).
  • Share. You will need to divide up the tasks that we've identified in the planning stage. Who is going to do what and when?
  • Research. This is vital. A wikipedia article is worth nothing unless it comprises verified research, appropriately referenced. This will entail going to the library, as well as surfing the internet!
  • Assemble and copy-edit. As the referenced research is added to an article, we need to ensure that it does not become baggy and disorganized, though there will be moments when it is obviously in a transitional stage.
  • Informal Review. First, informal reviews among ourselves and consultation with the course instructor (Piotr Konieczny). You should have an advanced outline / early draft ready by Monday, November 2, and submit it to the instructor so he can comment on it and give you further advice. You can try the Wikipedia peer review to get additional input. Finishing this assignment on time is worth 5% of the course grade.
  • Good article nomination. By Monday, November 16 at the latest as there's a backlog of articles to be reviewed, and because a nomination can easily be put on hold until the article is improved in line with a reviewer's suggestions.
  • This means your article should be mostly finished by then! But it doesn't mean your work is done, FAR FROM IT! You are responsible for keeping daily track of comments by reviewers (which will include the instructor), answering them and addressing them (if they are reasonable, when in doubt, ask the instructor). Here are some sample Good Article reviews and related discussions: example1, example2, exampe3. Finishing this assignment on time is worth 5% of the course grade.
  • Course instructor (Piotr Konieczny) will do the final assessment of your work after December 11 (beginning of the finals week).

Important tips[edit]

Create an account and sign in every time you edit

Whenever you edit, make sure that you are signed in (if in the top right corner of the screen you see "log in" button, you are not signed in!). If you are not signed in, course instructor (Piotr Konieczny) will not be able to verify that you were the person who made the edit and give you points for it.

Talk pages

Whenever editing a talk page, add four tildes ~~~~ to the end of all comments you make on talk pages. This will let people know who is talking. You can also just press the signature button.

Selecting an article

You can chose to create an entirely new article related to globalization, if the topic you'd like to write about is missing. You can also expand an existing Wikipedia article related to globalization, if there is ample room for expansion (rule of thumb: if the article has only a few sentences, it is a good choice for expansion, if it has a few long sections, probably not). Most articles assessed as a "stub" qualify for this assignment. There are hundreds of globalizationrelated articles to chose from: see here.

If you are drawing blank on what article you could create or expand, here's an example of an article that should be created or expanded: archaic globalization, core countries, core-periphery, deglobalization, developing country, economic globalization, European miracle, exceptionalism, history of globalization, Karimi merchants, most favoured nation, Pax Mongolica, periphery countries, politico-media complex, postnationalism, polyethnicity, proto-globalization, social cycle theory, Staples thesis, Tabula Rogeriana, Third World, transnationalism, waves of globalization. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Important tip: try to chose a subject that you are interested in. It's much easier to write about something interesting than it is to write about something boring!

As soon as possible, your group should agree on a topic and get in touch (by email) with the course instructor (Piotr Konieczny) so he can verify it is a good topic. You may want to select one or more subjects and list them in the order of preference, in case your first choice is rejected, to save time.

What kind of an article are we writing?

We are not doing any original research. You will not be collecting data, analyzing it, or writing about your experiences. We will not be witting an essay with personal opinions or judgments. Instead, we will be writing an encyclopedic article, summarizing an existing, verifiable state of knowledge from a sociology related area. See Wikipedia in brief for a short list of what an encyclopedic article we will be writing here is.

Getting the article assessed as a GA

At the top of this page you will find a "how to" for nomination. There is also a dedicated guide for nominating good articles. If you can nominate it sooner than the deadline, the better for you - every day gives you more time to read comments by the reviewers and address them. Remember: you may get max score (25%) even if you don't address all the comments of the reviewer in time (particularly if he posts them very late); but addressing them and passing through the GA process guarantees you the max score (25%) for this assignment. The assignment does not with the nomination, you will likely have to fix various issues pointed out by the reviewer. If the reviewer posts useful comments, you should do your best to address them; of course this mean you may disagree with him if you think you know better (reviewers are not perfect).

We don't own the articles

Wikipedia is a project with millions of editors, who collaborate on all articles. We don't own the articles we work on. Don't be surprised if you receive comments from editors who are not part of the course, or if they do edit your article. All editors are here to help; don't hesitate to get extra help - Wikipedia has ton of places you can do so.

Expect to interact (politely) with others

It is likely that over the course of the project, you will receive messages from editors outside our course, and that they will make edits to your article. Be polite in replying, and don't hesitate to ask them to explain something.

Work on Wikipedia

A. Don't work on a draft in Microsoft Word. Work on a draft in the article on Wikipedia. This way your colleagues (and instructor) will be aware of what you are doing the instant you do so, and can comment on it sooner.

B. Don't exchange comments by email. Exchange comments by using article's talk pages, for the same reasons as above (unless you are certain that your discussion have to stay private). If you like to receive email notifications, you can monitor the article's talk pages (and your own userpage talk page) by subscribing to that page RSS feed (see Wikipedia:Syndication).

Remember: gaining experience with wiki software may be more important to your future career than detailed knowledge of globalization. Three years ago, Technorati's chief technologist states that in five years "knowledge of wikis will be a required job skill". Do the math.

Plagiarism and copyvio warning

Plagiarism is not only against university's and course policies, it is also against Wikipedia policies (see WP:PLAGIARISM). And attributing somebody doesn't mean cut and paste jobs are allowed (WP:COPYVIO). Violations of plagiarism/copyvio policies will result in lower grade and other sanctions (per university's policy). Please note that the course instructor is not the only person checking constantly for plagiarism and copyright violations; the Good Article reviewer will do so as well, and Wikipedia has a specialized group of volunteers specializing in checking new contributions for those very problems (you don't want your work to appear here or here!). For more info see: Wikipedia:Copy-paste, Wikipedia:Quotations, Wikipedia:Close paraphrasing, a guide from Purdue University.

Getting extra help

You can always ask the course instructor for help. You should not hesitate to ask your fellow students from other groups for help, for example if you see they have mastered some editing trick you have yet to learn. We are here to collaborate, not compete. If you can lobby and get help/assistance/advice from other editors to improve your work (for example by using Wikipedia:New contributors' help page, Wikipedia:Peer review, Wikipedia:Help desk or Wikipedia:Reference desk), I am perfectly fine with it. Be bold and show initiative, it usually helps.

Advice from past assignments

This is not the first time I am running this assignment for my students. Based on my past experiences, here are common mistakes that tend to lower your grade:

  • read the "getting extra help" tip above
  • try to complete the extra credit assignments outlined here
  • complete WP:TUTORIAL and edit some Wikipedia articles "for fun" early on; experience gained will be very helpful
  • work on a draft on Wikipedia, in the article; don't work in Microsoft Word or such
  • keep an eye on your userpage discussion page, and on article's discussion page, where other group members and other Wikipedia editors - and the instructor - may leave you tips, advice and other comment
  • remember its a collaborative assignments. Work with your colleagues from the first day on a single wiki-draft. Groups whose members work alone and try to combine their parts a day or so before the final submission don't do very well.
  • don't focus solely on your own sections. Help your teammates by proofreading their section, see if they have troubles with things you've figured out.
  • image questions? See Wikipedia:Images, and in particular, the Wikipedia:Finding images tutorial and the Wikipedia:Picture tutorial. Try to avoid looking for images on "the web", focus on the Wikipedia's sister project, Wikimedia Commons, which has millions of images that can be used on Wikipedia without any restrictions.
  • reference questions? See here on how to add footnotes and proper references to your article


Getting an article assessed as a good article by the Wikipedia good article reviewer guarantees the group the unweighted 25% score from this assignment. If you have submitted your article for GA assessment on time but your article didn't finished going through the assessment process in time, due to the failure of the external Wikipedia reviewer to react promptly, if the course instructor (Piotr Konieczny) is happy with it, you may still get the unweighted 25%. If the article is assessed below the GA class, the unweighted score will be lower (see table below):

Here is a description of quality classes for an article. What we are aiming is is the GA-class (or above, but the GA-class will guarantee you max points). Read carefully what the lower classes (B, C, start, stub) lack and make sure your article is better!

Article's quality class Course credit points earned
stub class 1
start class 6
C-class 15
B-class 20
Good Article class 25

The grade for this assignment is further modified as follows:

  • you can get up to 25% unweighted score points by finishing the five 5% worth stages described above on time. This can potentially earn the group the full unweighted 50% score for this assignment, HOWEVER
  • the 50% will than be weighted based on individual students participation, incorporating the number and quality of that students edits to Wikipedia, and how each other member of that student group valued his or her input and contribution.

What this means is that if a group had members who worked hard throughout the term (logged in regularly, discussed the article development with other group members and other interested Wikipedia editors on article's discussion page, and so on), and members who did very little worked (logged in rarely, did not participate in discussions, and so on), their end grades for this assignment will be different. For example, if the end unweighted grade was 40%, the members who worked hard may see their individual grades raised potentially even to the full mark (50%), but the members who did not contribute much to the group project may see their grade be much lower - 30%, 20% or in case they did almost no work, close to 0% (in other words, students who join the group and don't contribute to the group project should not expect to get a good grade from this assignment - remember: I can see how hard you are working). To avoid getting your grade weighted down, read the tips above, and in particular, follow those simple steps:

  • log in and make edits to the article regularly, preferably several times a week
  • discuss the article with other group members on article's discussion page, where the instructor can see that you are actively engaged in planning and developing the article

It is therefore NOT recommended that some group members specialize in tasks such as library research or off-wiki writing, which the instructor cannot verify.

Style guides[edit]

To get past the stumbling blocks of GA, articles will have to conform to the Wikipedia style guides. The three largest barriers are:

Secondary style guide are specific to different projects. Articles must conform to these also. Conflict between any of these is inevitable and troublesome; editors simply have to work out conflicts through consensus.

The simplest way to understand the various style guides is to examine articles that have passed GA or FA. You can see Wikipedia Good Articles from the section "Social science and society" here. Good sociology related ones include Social class in the United States, Anti-nuclear movement in Australia, African American culture, On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog. Other good examples include Featured articles from the section "Culture and society", for example: Society of the Song Dynasty, Max Weber, Fairy tale.


Editors in SOC0317[edit]

Course instructor: User:Piotrus (Piotr Konieczny)

Max 5 students per group. You DON'T have to give your real name below, but if you don't, do email your instructor (Piotr Konieczny) with your name and account so I know whose account is whose. Please add your name below:

Group 1

  1. nec26 (talk · contribs) (Nick), ges21 (talk · contribs) (Gabby), jeh123 (talk · contribs) (Justine), ClaraKHeck (talk · contribs) (Clara), Danabodnar (talk · contribs) (Dana)

Group 2

  1. Rgg6 (talk · contribs) (Ragini Gupta), JFA7 (talk · contribs) (Jonathan Adams), Kmm131 (talk · contribs) (Katie Manbachi), Jsf26 (talk · contribs) (Jessica Feldbauer), Mln30 (talk · contribs) (Melissa Nadeau)

Group 3

  1. NellRoss4 (talk · contribs) (Nell Ross), (talk · contribs) (Teressa Starr Green), Jeaster89 (talk · contribs) (John Easter), Dam59 (talk · contribs) (David Mandell), Acq123 (talk · contribs) (Alicia Quebral)

Group 4

  1. Seanmac33 (talk · contribs) (Sean McNamara), Jam187 (talk · contribs) (Jessica McCracken), cmp77 (talk · contribs) (Carly Porath), Lassib (talk · contribs) (Lauren Sibigtroth), Gxlarson (talk · contribs) (Stefan Larson)

Group 5

  1. Bsgayda (talk · contribs) (Bethany Gayda), Rach3191 (talk · contribs) (Rachel Croitoru), Jpd26 (talk · contribs) (Jeremy Diebert), Tuna12 (talk · contribs) (Logan Mlakar)

Group 6

  1. accgail (talk · contribs) (Abby), danloheyde52 (talk · contribs) (Dan L.), Jml72 (talk · contribs) (Justin), toasterlyreasons (talk · contribs) (Katie D.), bbsaa (talk · contribs) (Sarah)

Group 7

  1. angelalhan (talk · contribs) (Angela), emm66 (talk · contribs) (Erika), ajr36 (talk · contribs) (Amber), dagypt (talk · contribs) (Dominique Agypt), mariahjenae (talk · contribs) (Mariah Blake)

Group 8

  1. airp89 (talk · contribs) (Arielle), mem134 (talk · contribs) (Megan), ecr6 (talk · contribs) (Elizabeth), jlw80 (talk · contribs) (Jess W.), ColleenHelen (talk · contribs) (Colleen)

Group 9

  1. Dorothy R Smith (talk · contribs) (Dorothy Smith), ShaqSmith (talk · contribs) (Shaq), Nikzen (talk · contribs) (Nikki Zenn), hsl22 (talk · contribs) (Helena Li)

Group 10

  1. d.j.weingart (talk · contribs) (dan weingart), PatrickJatkins (talk · contribs) (pat atkins), Chazz Aden (talk · contribs) (chazz aden), Eric wisniewski (talk · contribs) (Eric wisniewski), jcl41 (talk · contribs) (jon luchansky)

Articles edited[edit]

Group projects[edit]

List here the article your group is editing:

Group 1: Polyethnicity (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to GA class)

Group 2: First World (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to GA class)

Group 3: Sociology of health and illness (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to C-cass)

Group 4: Pax Mongolica (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to GA class)

Group 5: Economy of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to C-cass)

Group 6: Proto-globalization (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to GA class)

Group 7: Impact of globalization on women in China (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to GA class)

Group 8: Politico-media complex (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to C-cass)

Group 9: Food power (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to GA class)

Group 10: Semi-periphery countries (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views) (improved to C-cass)

Individual extra credit edits[edit]

Extra credit edits (the students have the opportunity to earn extra credit with sociology-related wikipedia editing).

What to do for extra credit? Edit sociology of globalization related articles and inform the instructor; they will be graded just like the regular assignment. You can start new articles or improve the existing ones.

Some highlights:


Post them at the discussion page of this article and/or email your course instructor!