REVIEW: "Wikipedia: The Missing Manual", John Broughton
- BKWKPDMM.RVW 20080306
"Wikipedia: The Missing Manual", John Broughton, 2008,
%A John Broughton
%C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
%G 0-596-51516-2 978-0-596-51516-4
%I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
%O U$29.99/C$29.99 800-998-9938 707-829-0515 nuts@...
%O Audience i+ Tech 2 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P 477 p.
%S The Missing Manual
%T "Wikipedia: The Missing Manual"
Wikipedia is the online encyclopedia that is user built and edited.
There has been much controversy over the concept that a reference
created by volunteers, and one where the material may be modified by a
random reader, could possibly have any significant value. What would
drive anyone with anything worthwhile to say, to say it in this forum?
Participants could create articles with any kind of garbage in them.
Worthwhile articles could be altered or deleted. However, with some
technical tools, and a semi-formal hierarchy of editors and
administrators, Wikipedia has become a major resource for millions.
The introduction states that the intended purpose of the book is to
provide a guide to the core functions and rules of Wikipedia, and a
structure for learning editing and related operations. As well, some
of the material in the work may be of use to experienced editors,
simply because of the wealth of functionality in the system. (The
text deals only with the English version of Wikipedia, but most of the
content should be relevant to other versions using the same software
Part one starts with the basics of editing, creating, and maintaining
articles. Chapter one has extensive information on editing, although
a number of the figures have possibly been trimmed too much: they do
not always show relevant links and results of coding. Wikipedia
articles must be documented, notes chapter two, and lists various
examples of citation. While chapter three recommends creating an
account and personal page, the operations described in the text are
not always clear. What not to do when creating a new page is in
chapter four. Page histories, and the options for reversion, are
outlined in chapter five, and chapter six reviews options for
monitoring changes. The issues of vandalism and spam (articles that
are contrary to the intent of Wikipedia) are addressed in chapter
Part two moves to collaboration with other editors. Communicating
with editors, discussed in chapter eight, concentrates on the various
"talk" pages. Wikiprojects and other group efforts are examined in
chapter nine. The deliberation on content disputes, reviewed in
chapter ten, is part policy, and part psychology. Chapter eleven's
material on personal attacks is similar. Chapter twelve notes ways of
helping other editors learn and develop.
Part three turns to formatting of articles. Sections, tables of
contents, and overall issues of structure are discussed in chapter
thirteen, lists and tables in fourteen, and images in fifteen.
Part four looks at factors involved in improving the encyclopedia.
Getting readers to the right article, using proper naming, redirect
pages, and disambiguation, is covered in chapter sixteen. Chapter
seventeen notes categories of articles. Much of the prior content is
repeated in chapter eighteen, which appears to be a review of basic
article creation and editing, but primarily in terms of policies. The
process for deleting articles is described in chapter nineteen.
Personal customizing of Wikipedia makes up part five. Chapter twenty
outlines the preferences for your account, while twenty-one notes how
A good many people think they know about Wikipedia, but fail to fully
understand some of the necessary functions or policies that make it
work. Indeed, many who would have much to contribute to the project
may have been discouraged by failed attempts because of simple
mistakes. For anyone who is interested in becoming part of the noble
experiment, this book is an excellent introduction.
copyright Robert M. Slade, 2008 BKWKPDMM.RVW 20080306
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Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.
- Jules de Gautier