Subsequent analysis and investigation, beginning with a story from ConWebBlog, resulted in Klein's admission that the user making the reverted edits, Jerusalem21 (whose only other edits were to Klein's own article), was his research assistant and made the edits on his instructions.
Composition professor uses Wikipedia to teach writing
Robert E. Cummings, an assistant professor of English and director of the First-Year Composition Program at Columbus State University, praises Wikipedia as "a more authentic, immediate audience for student writing" in a column in Inside Higher Ed. In "Are We Ready to Use Wikipedia to Teach Writing?", Cummings explains how he has successfully used Wikipedia assignments in his composition courses to teach students how to write with an audience in mind that consists of more than merely the professor. He also claims that "in the years of teaching with Wikipedia I have found almost no difference in the range of opinions about Wikipedia held by student writers and those held by their - mostly - older teachers" and that he has found "roughly the same number of enthusiastic adopters among teachers and students." Many students with negative views of Wikipedia, he notes, had previously been penalized for using it.
Cummings is the author of a new book about Wikipedia assignments and related teaching issues, Lazy Virtues: Teaching Writing in the Age of Wikipedia, due out this month from Vanderbilt University Press. Look for a review of this book by one or more Wikipedians in an upcoming edition of the Signpost.
Law scholars analyze Wikipedia's dispute resolution system
Temple University law scholars David A. Hoffman and Salil Mehra have released a draft of a paper that explores English Wikipedia's dispute resolution system as a key factor in the project's effectiveness. In "Wikitruth through Wikiorder", Hoffman and Mehra present both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the formal and informal elements of dispute resolution on Wikipedia, including a statistical analysis of 250 arbitration cases. They characterize the formal dispute resolution system (particularly arbitration) as, paradoxically, a system that does not resolve disputes. Rather, since Wikipedia is largely driven by (civil) disputes over article content, the arbitration system serves to "weed out" editors who do not abide by the community's standards of behavior while it "weeds back in" problematic editors who nevertheless demonstrate a commitment to article content. Using game theory, they argue that channeling difficult users back into the community can be modeled by the game of Chicken.
UK government plagiarizes Wikipedia in telecom bill amendment, says grad student
According to Monica Horten, a PhD student at the Communications and Media Research Institute of the University of Westminster, part of a newly introduced amendment to the "Telecoms Package" being considered by the European Parliament was cut-and-pasted from Wikipedia. Horten reports on her website IpTegrity.com that the UK government introduced an amendment that "seek[s] to cross out users' rights to access and distribute Internet content and services", and the language in the amendment was taken in part from the Wikipedia article bandwidth management.
Skittles' Web 2.0 experiment goes awry
The Signpostpreviously reported on the recently overhauled website for the confectionary brand Skittles, which uses only Twitter feeds, Wikipedia articles, and other "Web 2.0" content. PRWeekreported last week that abusive comments by Twitter users have prompted Skittles to use the Wikipedia article for the home page, rather than Twitter. However, both the "discussion" and "edit" tabs are obscured by the Skittles branding.
The website has since changed again, with YouTube content now used as the default.