User History

I’ve been interacting with Wikipedia since high school. I would look up articles and then look up articles related to those articles for the sake of it and for the sake of gathering useless knowledge about something (which are the same things). I think the internet is almost built on this practice now (tumblr posts where the poster notices a shot from this movie is also in this older movie for example), but I remember distinctly in high school computer labs looking up allusions and references found in Neon Genesis Evangelion and not really having that much of an engaged relationship with Evangelion but just enjoying the allusions and references (classical and within anime production) it had because I thought that’s what made art really smart. You had to consume culture to be a part of culture and make culture. I would also go through trivia pages on IMDB for the same reason. Seeing how and why references work really intrigued me because it taught me nothing really exists in this vacuum and art always responds to art and always adds up and never subtracts meaning. There is that briefcase in Pulp Fiction that is also a reference to both Repo Man and Kiss Me Deadly and knowing that reference changes or informs your reading of the text. These things always seem to grow out of something else and always seem to grow.

I’ve edited Wikipedia pages in a minor capacity for years, but something I’ve been editing and contributing outside this project and with some focus has been the Wiki for the How was your Week with Julie Klausner podcast or How Was your Wiki?. I’ve mainly contributed the the Movie Club Section of the wiki, which is this expanding chart that features Julie Klausner’s verdicts (some jokey and some serious) on movies she mentions on the podcast.  A lot of the verdicts are blank, but it is a chart to build off of and work with. It’s also a neat exercise because you’re writing someone else’s opinions and boiling those opinions down in a chart and writing in a different voice. It’s also very weird, but any database is built on this idea of taking information from somewhere else and boiling it down to these essential and informative points. It is an expanding process and in editing and contributing to this wiki, I’ve found it much more satisfying to build off other contributions. I never really delete anything. I just add to this chart or this page. I think that attitude is something social editions to texts and wikis should work under because contributors are not deleting or removing, but always adding and tweaking information that already exists somewhere and responding to it through this action of tweaking and contributing. But even if you’re deleting something on a wiki you’re still contributing and building off of that error. I’m now in the position where I’m writing the references I would be reading in high school computer labs. 

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One Response to User History

  1. Pingback: Information, Inventory, Invention | The Tales of John Oliver Hobbes

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