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#1 Helene

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 09:07 AM

On the "Goodbye to newspapers?" thread beck_hen wrote,

Other enterprises, like Wikipedia, also show that the biggest threat to publishing may be that people are happy to offer their time and expertise for free.

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Wikipedia is an open source, free online encyclopedia. For every article, there are several tabs, including discussion about the article, a history of edits, and the source itself. There are numerous articles from the Help Page which describe how to use, search, and edit existing articles and how to create new ones. (This page is also linked from the home page by clicking "Help" from the left hand menu.)

A friend who is one of many -- I think several hundred -- moderators on the site told me that that material on ballet is weak, and the Wikipedians would appreciate contributions to the site on the topic. If you are interested in contributing, there are a few things you should know:

1. Articles are subject to revision by the entire community. While there are moderators who are on the lookout for gratuitious and spiteful edits, it can be frustrating to have to negotiate or justify content in discussion. They have a long and arduous arbitration process for "re-educating" and removing posters who would be shut down on Ballet Talk in several seconds flat. Like any community, getting a feel for how it works -- reading the discussion pages is a good start -- before jumping in is a good strategy, and the more reasonable, respectful, and knowledgeable posters are recognized fast and get the support of the core.

2. It is an encyclopedia, and it aims for facts, claims and information that are proportional to their importance in the issue, particularly in the opening and summaries. Citations are particularly important, and uncited material may be edited out or quarantined, to be reinstated when a citation is added. Gushing is usually edited out quickly. (The Michelle Kwan article comes to mind.) An entire article about a young soloist at ABT, for example, would be cut in all likelihood and perhaps edited into a general article about a new generation of dancers.

3. Contributors are welcome to translate existing articles in other languages to English and vice versa. The list of languages supported in Wikipedia is on the main page in the left hand column.

4. Whether a person or event is considered important enough to belong in an encyclopedia determines whether an article should be linked from a main article -- for example, if I mentioned a current PNB dancer in an overview article on the history of ballet, the reference would be removed -- or is a fan article, which would be removed. Putting a dancer in context helps to establish why a dedicated article should be there in the first place, particularly since ballet might not be an area where the moderators have a lot of experience. For example, many might not have heard of Alicia Markova or Alexandra Danilova any more than I would know who influenced rock music.

The main aspect of Wikipedia is that it is a collaborative effort.

#2 dirac

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 01:32 PM

Gushing is usually edited out quickly.


A passing note: True, but the more subtle forms of gushing are sometimes missed. In size and space the Kwan article is out of proportion and looks like fan stuff, and a dedicated fan also posted the entry on Pancho Gonzales, I can tell you. :unsure: But I love the site, itís a magnificent effort.

#3 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 05:31 PM

Interesting indeed. I know of Wikipedia, but I did not know that it was weak on ballet. Or rather I assume that it would be, most sites are fairly poor. However, it is getting rather late here now, I will peruse it tomorrow and give my opinions then.

#4 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 02:32 PM

I assume that not only Wikipedia, but also a host of other online encyclopedias are rather weak on ballet.
I prefer to go to a ballet site like BalletAlert when I have a question and I know I can trust that answer. In fact I did take a look at Wikipedia and found some rather grave errors on what little there was on ballet.
But that might be in the nature of things. Those who post there are not paid, they probably are amateurs who naturally do their best, so that is fine.
Then, and this is really the question. In almost any other walk of life, people who are doing something seriously get paid for their efforts. Suddenly, when it comes to art, you are supposed to be such an ardent art lover that you can subsist on thin air alone.
Sorry folks, I have bills to pay and I have to eat, so my days of spilling out my knowledge of ballet (or whatever) for nothing are definitely over. If I am asked to write an article on some ballet topic I want to get paid. In hard cash. And why shouldnt I?
People who write on football or economics or :) medical stuff get paid for their articles and no one questions that. But with fine art it is different, is it supposed to be a divine calling, or what?

#5 Helene

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 04:10 PM

Just to be clear, no one gets paid for writing on Wikipedia, regardless of the topic, sports and medicine and politics included.

#6 Farrell Fan

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 07:02 PM

Samuel Johnson would not have approved of Wilkipedia. Boswell quotes him as saying (on April 5, 1776), "No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money."

#7 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 03:03 PM

Amen to Samuel Johnson - the guy makes some sense. :D

#8 carbro

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 03:55 PM

Sorry folks, I have bills to pay and I have to eat, so my days of spilling out my knowledge of ballet (or whatever) for nothing are definitely over. If I am asked to write an article on some ballet topic I want to get paid. In hard cash. And why shouldnt I?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Samuel Johnson would not have approved of Wilkipedia. Boswell quotes him as saying (on April 5, 1776), "No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money."

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually, Pamela and FarrellFan, you are two of our best, and I'm assuming that when you talk about writing only for money, Pamela, that you mean lengthy, analytical pieces that require research. But where would BalletTalk be if everyone took that attitude? :D

#9 Farrell Fan

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 05:44 PM

In my case, flattery is just as good as money, carbro.

#10 Pamela Moberg

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 02:47 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Carbro!
But oh dear, this needs some clarification I think.
Yes, Carbro, you hit the nail on the head - lengthy articles needing a lot of research, maybe trips into town to the reference library etc.
If I may say so myself, I am not at all a meanspirited person who wants money for everything. (Though some meanspirited person once said of me that it costs money just to speak to me) :D
BalletAlert is quite another thing, it feels like having so many penpals with whom you can hold forth on your favorite subject.
And I actually do write for free when I think it is a deserving cause. Some time ago I did a lengthy article on Leon Bakst for a Swedish association devoted to art and literature. They circulate a small quarterly magazine for their members and are all dedicated people and such things must be encouraged.
But I dont like being taken advantage of - I dont like people considering me as an elderly married woman who does a little bit (only a little bit, one can get the vapours!) of writing because it is considered highclass to be fond of the arts.
That is a Victorian view - I despise the Victorian era - and does not hold good today.
.

#11 innopac

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:18 PM

[size=4]I just discovered this page on wikipedia [/size]where it looks like people sign up to work on pages in a more formal way than just going in and editing them.
[size=4]Wikipedia:WikiProject Ballet/Article improvement[/size]
[size=4]http://en.wikipedia....cle_improvement[/size]

#12 sandik

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:49 PM

This looks quite complex, and I'm not sure what all the layers of administration involve. Is anyone here more conversant in their practices, and could explain a bit about how it works...

#13 innopac

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:15 PM

Anyone can edit pages -- it is a communal effort -- so what you put up may get changed. If you edit without creating a login your ip address will show on the history of edits page so creating a login is better.

If you look at any wikipedia page there is an edit tab at the top and that is where you go to edit. There is also a history tab where you can see by comparing pages the changes that have been made and who has made them (by their login name). And there is a talk tab where you can see what needs to be fixed up on the page.

Wikipedia is very keen on citing statements in the text with footnotes. "One of the key policies of Wikipedia is that all article content has to be verifiable. This means that a reliable source must be able to support the material. All quotations and any material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged must include an inline citation of a source that directly supports the material."

Here is an introduction page to help volunteer editors to get started. http://en.wikipedia....Getting_started

Edited:
Forgot to say you can preview what you do before you publish it (save it) and also there is a "sand box" on your user page where you can have a play to see if you understand the formatting rules correctly.

#14 Paul Parish

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:46 PM

The great thing about Wikipedia is that it's online and you can look things up there at 3 in the morning.

The n ext great thing about it is that it's communal, and on the whole the spirit behind it is generous/.

Re ballet, it is weak -- though there are some WONDERFUL articles there [e.g., the very thorough piece on la Fille mal Gardee].

I have found myself inserting a paragraph here and there -- since it is weak in its way on everything. I'll give an example -- the section on Bizet MIGHT have a paragraph on his youthful Symphony in C that discusses his education, the occasion of the composition, its debt to Gounod, the fact that the score was lost for a long time -- but NO MENTION of Balanchine's ballet set to that score. Such was once the case -- I doubt at this point that that lapse has not been rectified -- but similar lapses lurk everywhere, since the articles are generally the work of enthusiasts who may know a great deal but are not necessarily aware of all the important ramifications of the subject they're writing about.


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