Atlantic geology hits Wikipedia

WikiProject Geology is one of the gathering places for geoscientists in Wikipedia.Regular readers of this blog know that we're committed to open scientific communication, and that we're champions of wikis as one of the venues for that communication, and that we want to see more funky stuff happen at conferences. In this spirit, we hosted a Wikipedia editing session at the Atlantic Geoscience Society Colloquium in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, this past weekend. 

As typically happens with these funky sessions, it wasn't bursting at the seams: The Island of Misfit Toys is not overcrowded. There were only 7 of us: three Agilistas, another consultant, a professor, a government geologist, and a student. But it's not the numbers that matter (I hope), it's the spirit of the thing. We were a keen bunch and we got quite a bit done. Here are the articles we started or built upon:

The birth of the Atlantic Geoscience Society page gave the group an interesting insight into Wikipedia's quality control machine. Within 10 minutes of publishing it, the article was tagged for speedy deletion by an administrator. This sort of thing is always a bit off-putting to noobs, because Wikipedia editors can be a bit, er, brash, or at least impersonal. This is not that surprising when you consider that new pages are created at a rate of about one a minute some days. Just now I resurrected a stripped-down version of the article, and it has already been reviewed. Moral: don't let anyone tell you that Wikipedia is a free-for-all.

All of these pages are still (and always will be) works in progress. But we added 5 new pages and a substantial amount of material with our 28 or so hours of labour. Considering most of those who came had never edited a wiki before, I'm happy to call this a resounding success. 

Much of my notes from the event could be adapted to any geoscience wiki editing session — use them as a springboard to get some champions of open-access science together at your next gathering. If you'd like our help, get in touch.