I recently learned how to edit Wikipedia articles, so I decided to use my new found skill to bring some expertise to a series that may not receive much love these days. I’m a fan of the Animorphs series, but I don’t know many other people who have read them, so as I expected, the Wikipedia page was some what lacking.
The series is 54 books long just in the main series, and there is actually a page that summarizes each book, but I was surprised to see that the general plot summary section on the main article only had about two sentences. There was a notice stating that this section could use some expansion, so I decided that would be the easier thing that I could tackle. I added a lot to the summary, and tried to capture some of the essence of what I like about the series. Editing this was very simple, because there was no formatting involved. I didn’t have to add any links to other pages or headers or lists. I also added a couple things to some of the character bios. For instance, I saw that recently some one edited the minor characters to include the character of David. They explained that (spoiler) he betrays them, but fails to explain how David came to join the Animorphs or why he would have the ability to morph, which if you’ve read the series, is kind of an important plot point. I also capitalized the word “Andalite” because it is the name of a species and thus a proper noun.
Obviously, Animorphs isn’t as influential of a series to popular culture as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games so it makes sense that the page would be less closely monitored because less people will be looking at it than those franchises. It follows that the more popular a topic the higher clearance is needed to edit a page on Wikipedia. As far as I can tell, this is true since I can edit the Animoprhs article with zero credentials but I do not have access to The Hunger Games edit page. Since this is the only Wikipedia article that I’ve edited, it’s hard to really say what the Wikipedia community is like. I can tell that the website it’s self is trying to be inclusive and encourage anyone to participate in the collection of knowledge. For one thing, it’s probably the only site that doesn’t require you give them an email address to get an account that I’ve ever joined. There are pages that only members can access that look like Wikipedia articles but aren’t, such as a user’s page and talk pages. Talk pages confuse me, but since there isn’t a comment system on Wikipedia they seem to function as a kind of forum to discuss things. This is probably more important for pages that are under greater moderation, but it adds an element of collaboration that I previously didn’t know existed.
I think that it is really neat that the world can work together to curate knowledge and that anyone can access that knowledge for free. Any one can edit it, but it’s also constantly being cross checked by other users. Wikipedia is especially useful for readers, because it is an easy way to access information about a book or series of books in an efficient way. I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve looked up the name of the next book in a series, or the order of a series, the name of a character or an author on Wikipedia. It’s really kind of mind boggling to me that any given sentence I read on Wikipedia could have been written by literally anyone, a famous researcher or a middle schooler, with out any weight given to the source. The community seems to be pretty inviting and dedicated to presenting accurate, accessible information. Hopefully, my edit will kept among them.