On Blogging: Wikipedia is your friend

If you read my posts you will often find a link to an article in Wikipedia. Indeed, just look at the last word in the previous sentence.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that is evolving over time due to the thousands of voluntary contributors and editors who create and manage the content. Anyone can write about anything, though there are of course some rules in place to avoid excess.

Wikipedia has grown so it has amazing breadth and depth. For example in my earlier posts today I found references to a Russian computer scientist named A. P. Ershov, and to the town he helped to create, Adademgorodok.

I wrote earlier of the death of Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. I saw the obituary this morning around 9AM and wrote my post about here a few hours later. By the time I looked up her name in wikipedia a couple of hours later the entry for her had been updated to include here date of death and a link to her obituary in the New York Times, an hour first published only a few hours earlier. Remarkable!

By using Wikipedia links you don’t need to explain in detail each person, town, idea and such that you mention in your blog post. All you need is to add a phrase or a sentence or two to set the context. By provding a link you provide a way for the reader to dig further on their own initiative.

Wikipedia is created using a piece of open-source software called MediaWiki that is open-source.

MediaWiki is an instance of a “wiki,” a way for a group to collaboratively develop content. Simply put, while blogs are the works of individuals, wikis provide a way for a group of folks to create and refine a blog post.

We’ll be looking at wikis down the road in this project. Just now our focus is on blogging.

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