I love Wikipedia, I use it on a regular basis, but I never thought about contributing anything. Why not? I’ve never searched for something that wasn’t there and I’ve never encountered something that I thought was incomplete or incorrect (yet). I also do not feel the urge to enter all my interests or research findings into an entry. There must be Wikipedia freaks who continuously want to add or expand or correct posts. I can see some kind of competition element that might be there, but apparently this is not my kind of game.
So what drives people to contribute to Wikipedia? Surely not an assignment for their New Media Masterclass :) Do they write for recognition? Hardly, because there are no direct credits. But if you look closer you can see who contributed to a topic and you can look up background information on that person. That background information is entered by the person itself and it often lists all the subjects they worked on. Sometimes they also list the reason why they are contributing to Wikipedia.
While thinking about a topic to create an entry for or contribute to I thought of my work. I work for the Ketelhuis, an independent movie theatre at Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam. Amazingly enough there was no entry for it! So I decided to write an entry which was harder than I thought it would be. While I have some “inside” knowledge writing an encyclopedia entry is something quite different than writing a paper or blog post. It’s supposed to be objective in contrary to the stuff I usually write which is rather subjective. The nice thing about Wikipedia is that you can correct an entry or raise a discussion about an entry. In this way it is suppose to even itself out. The Ketelhuis was already mentioned in an article about the Westergasfabriek, so I linked that back to my new Ketelhuis entry. I also added the entry to several categories.
Since I am the first person to write about the Ketelhuis I am curious what will happen with the entry. How long will it take before someone contributes something new? Or maybe changes something? Or will nothing happen at all? I will update my findings here, but for now here’s my first Wikipedia entry which will hopefully be contributed to soon.