By Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN Business
(CNN) — After seeing headlines from national news sources on Google News about the Buffalo shooting at a local supermarket Saturday afternoon, Jason Moore, of Portland, Oregon, did a quick search of the incident on Wikipedia. When no results came out, he coined one sentence: “On May 14, 2022, 10 people were killed in a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.” hit save and Post Entry on Wikipedia in less than a minute.
This article, which as of Friday has been viewed more than 900,000 times, has since undergone 1,071 edits by 223 editors who have voluntarily updated the online page for free and the largest collective encyclopedia. Moore, who serves as a strategist for a digital creative agency, has made nearly 500,000 edits to Wikipedia articles over the past 15 years. It has also been ranked as one of the 50 most active English-language Wikipedia users of all time, based on the number of edits. (Wikipedia editors do not get paid.)
“It’s a hobby,” Moore told CNN Business. “Sometimes I spend a lot of time diving into and detailing an article, but other times I write a sentence or two to watch other editors improve at my work. I get a lot of satisfaction from planting the seed and watching it develop over time.”
He is credited with creating 50,000 entries, including some notable breaking news pages such as one for The US Capitol Attack in 2021. He was also lead editor of the protest pages for George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. “I had a lot of time when we were on lockdown that I could dedicate to high-quality Wikipedia work,” he said.
In the midst of breaking news, when people are searching for information, some platforms can offer more questions than answers. Although Wikipedia is not staffed by professional journalists, it is viewed by a lot of the public as a reliable source, for better or worse. Its entries are also used for fact-checking purposes by some of the largest social platforms, which increases the risk and reach of work from Moore and others.
The day after the buffalo was shot, Moore created the page for Shooting at the Presbyterian Church in Geneva In Laguna Woods, California, where one person was killed and five injured (four seriously). But he has also created pages for earthquakes, wildfires, terrorist attacks, and other breaking news moments.
“Editing Wikipedia can take an emotional toll on me, especially when working on difficult topics such as the COVID-19 pandemic, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and other disasters,” he said. “I learned how to reduce this by stepping away if necessary and revisiting tasks at a later time.”
Moore is part of a subculture of Wikipedia users who spend hours each day contributing to the platform, helping to fulfill the organization’s mission of “creating and distributing a free encyclopedia of the highest quality possible to everyone on the planet in their own language.” He describes his work as a volunteer editor as “remunerative.”
“I love the instant gratification of an internet improvement,” he said. “I want to direct people to something that will provide them with more reliable information at a time when it is very difficult for people to understand what sources they can trust.”
While anyone can contribute to the Wikipedia story, editors who are fast, reliable and resourceful have a strong reputation in the “knit” Wikipedia community of editors. Stephen Pruitt, for example, is perhaps the most famous Wikipedia editor – he’s made over 4.7 million edits, more than any other user on the site. In 2017, Time magazine the name of the thing He is one of the top 25 most influential people on the Internet.
Some of these expert users attend Wikipedia editors’ conferences and meetings all over the world. “We’re kind of like ants,” Moore said. “You kind of find how you fit in and how you can help.”
Although Wikipedia’s topics are different, it has evolved over the years Destination for the latest information In the breaking news. Wikipedia articles on current events often bring hundreds of thousands of views, and other major technology companies, such as Facebook and YouTube, often use Wikipedia to Fact-checking content on their own platforms. (Wikipedia entries summarize, present, and cite reliable sources, as well as links to useful sources that might otherwise be considered tangential in a traditional news article.)
There’s also attraction and culture around the people involved in high-profile breaking news situations on Wikipedia, said Lynn Rasberry, who works in the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science and has been a volunteer editor at Wikipedia for 10 years.
“It’s great to be the first person to create an article, especially if you do it well with quality contributions,” Rasberry said. “Just like a celebrity dies, there’s a rush to go to Wikipedia and change files [date of] the death. People like to be first…and also to have an impact” in getting reliable and accurate information quickly.
To help monitor incoming edits and predict misbehavior or errors, Wikipedia – like Twitter – uses artificial intelligence bots that can escalate suspicious content to human reviewers who monitor the content. However, volunteer editors in the Wikipedia community make decisions about what to remove or edit. The platform also uses moderators, known as “Trusted Users”, who can apply for the job or be nominated for the role, to help monitor the content.
Rasberry, who also wrote the Wikipedia page on Platform validationshe said that Wikipedia does not employ paid staff to monitor anything unless it involves “strange and unusual serious crimes such as terrorism or real-world violence, such as using Wikipedia to make threats, or planning suicide, or when Wikipedia itself is part of a crime.”
Rasberry said the defects range from a geographic bias, which relate to the challenges of communicating across languages; Internet access in low- and middle-income countries; and barriers to press freedom around the world.
In addition, the organization behind Wikipedia has previously He said You think only a small percentage of Wikipedia’s editors are women. Other issues includedelete– When an article is deleted because there is not enough press to support the topic – and ideological biaswhere Wikipedia may match the ideological bias of the news ecosystem.
Another problem is vandalism, or people who intentionally wrongly edit Wikipedia pages. But Moore said he’s not worried about his pages falling victim to vandalism because he believes Wikipedia’s guidelines and policies are working in his favour.
“I have many other editors I work with who will support me, so when we encounter vandalism, trolls, misinformation, or misinformation, editors are quick to undo inappropriate edits or remove inappropriate or poorly sourced content,” Moore said.
While “Editor Wars” can happen on Pages, Rasberry said this is often caused by social issues rather than news. People have always assumed liberation wars [play out on] Wikipedia and it doesn’t happen as much as outsiders would expect. “Wikipedia has existing technological and social structures, which most people find acceptable and appropriate, and which allow many people to edit simultaneously.”
Wikipedia also publicly shows who edits each version of an article via a file history pagealong with a “talk” page for each post that allows editors to discuss edits openly.
“Officials are very quick to block those who don’t adhere to the rules, so if you are coming to Wikipedia with bad intentions, you are wasting your time because we will ban you from contributing to the site,” Moore said.
There are challenges in users’ full access to news on Wikipedia as well. Rasberry said that due to subscription costs for news or magazines, some Wikipedia editors may not be able to access these sources and cite them in their updates. “Media access and media translation is a major bottleneck,” Raspberry said, saying, “News agencies [should] See Wikipedia as a collaborator rather than a competing news source. “
Wikipedia volunteers have created many guidelines for reliable news sources. A Wikipedia page dedicated to the topic states that articles should be “based on reliable and published sources, making sure to cover all significant majority and minority views that have appeared in those sources”.
“If no reliable sources are found on a topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on that topic,” the page said.
Although Moore is known among friends, colleagues, and those in the Wikipedia editor community as a Wikipedia influencer, the weight of this title is much less than the fame one can gain on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
“I don’t spend all of my time contributing to Facebook, Twitter and these other platforms because I feel so strongly about Wikipedia’s mission,” he said. “If it was a paid ad site or if it had a different mission, I wouldn’t waste my time.”
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