Guess who’s contributed a little something-something to the Wikipedia community and hasn’t been deleted yet?
Time to pull out the Chandler dance.
Why am I so excited? Because it is downright terrifying to edit a Wikipedia page with the thought that a moderator (or mods as they’re affectionately referred to) is lurking around their territory and can strike out at any moment and go “no! Not good enough!”
Anyway, I added a total of maybe 150 words, because that’s all I felt confident enough to write; but while researching for the Asian Americans section in the Second Generation Immigrants stub, I found out that there’s a wealth of information that could have been written about on that page. I also learned, however, the importance of hypertextuality: the ability to link to other Wikipedia pages within the article was so crucial to elaborating on a hypothetically unfamiliar term that didn’t have the relevancy to be elaborated on in the same article.
My process consisted of mostly researching papers or articles in the social sciences / humanities that talked about second generation Asian Americans, simply enough. There’s a surprising amount of things said on the topic. Kudos to you, Asian-American grad students! (Because who are we kidding, they’re should make up at least 99.9% of those writing these things.)
I see now the importance of linking and references more than I did before, because there really is something scary about being told off for not getting the facts right or not backing it up with anything solid.
It truly was more difficult than I had anticipated, though, to come up with a voice, an objective phrasing that wouldn’t give away any sort of bias or personal experience, since that’s what I do best (in blog or memoir form). Even the formality of each sentence I wrote was either too much or not enough at certain times; I found myself typing a sentence and staring at it for a good five minutes with this face:
…and then I would delete the sentence or rearrange the words like a frantic game of Boggle until I was satisfied.
But I’ve learned that as an Asian American, if I’m going to go about speaking to people about their prejudices and proving them that it should truly be taken as a problem, I’m going to need some evidence on my side, some accounts of history– and I’m going to need to be as convincing as possible, by not showing bias myself. At least, when providing the facts as evidence, the facts should be able to speak for themselves without me adding a “you racist chauvinistic pig don’t you see now” at the end of it.
I just want to add how amazing the Visual Editing program (that Wikipedia has recently added to the website for editors) is. It’s pretty darn fantastic, and it makes it so easy to edit, breaking down the barriers of having to know code to be able to contribute to the world’s largest encyclopedia.
My greatest worry right now is that someone will call me out as biased simply for revealing my ethnicity in the username I created, but I’m told that it isn’t something to really worry about. I think I’m just grateful that the particular page I chose to edit isn’t a busy one, so not many people are looking on and nit-picking as I work.
All in all, I’m quite pleased with the result. I hope my words contributed something or worth to that little stub.