Meet the Wikipedia editor who posted the Buffalo shooting entry minutes after it started

Meet the Wikipedia editor who posted the Buffalo shooting entry minutes after it started

CNN Business

After Jason Moore, of Portland, Oregon, saw headlines from national news sources on Google News about the Buffalo shooting at a local supermarket on Saturday afternoon, he did a quick search of the incident on Wikipedia. When no results came up, he penned a single sentence: “On May 14, 2022, 10 people were killed in a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.” Hit save and Post entry on Wikipedia in less than a minute.

This article, which as of Friday had been viewed more than 900,000 times, has since undergone 1,071 edits by 223 editors who voluntarily refresh the page on the free online and largest collective encyclopedia. Moore, who works as a strategist for a digital creative agency, has made nearly 500,000 edits to Wikipedia articles over the past 15 years. It is also ranked as one of the 50 most active English-language Wikipedia users of all time, based on number of edits. (Wikipedia editors do not get paid.)

“It’s a hobby,” Moore told CNN Business. “Sometimes I spend a lot of time diving into an article and breaking it down, but other times I write a sentence or two to get the ball rolling and watch other editors get better at my work. I get a great deal of satisfaction from planting the seed and watching it develop over time.”

He is credited with creating 50,000 entries, including some notable breaking news pages such as a page for US Capitol attack in 2021. He was also senior editor of the protest pages George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. “I had plenty of time when we were in lockdown mode that I could devote to quality Wikipedia work,” he said.

In the midst of breaking news, when people are searching for information, some platforms can provide more questions than answers. Although Wikipedia is not staffed by professional journalists, much of the public views it as a reliable source, for better or for worse. Her entries are also used for fact-checking purposes by some of the largest social platforms, increasing the stakes and reach of the work from Moore and others.

The day after Buffalo was shot, Moore created the page for Shooting at the Presbyterian Church in Geneva in Laguna Woods, California, where one person was killed and five others injured (four seriously). But he also created pages for earthquakes, wildfires, terrorist attacks, and other breaking news moments.

“Editing Wikipedia can take an emotional toll on me, especially when working on difficult topics like the COVID-19 pandemic, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and other disasters,” he said. “I’ve learned how to minimize this by stepping away if necessary and revisiting tasks at a later time.”

Moore is part of a subculture of Wikipedia users who spend hours each day contributing to the platform, helping to fulfill the organization’s mission of “creating and distributing a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to everyone on the planet in their own language.” He describes his work as a volunteer editor as “rewarding.” .

“I love the instant gratification of improving the Internet,” he said. “I want to point people to something that will provide them with more reliable information at a time when it’s very difficult for people to understand which sources they can trust.”

While anyone can contribute to a Wikipedia story, editors who are fast, reliable, and resourceful have a solid reputation in the “close-knit” Wikipedia editor community. Stephen Pruitt, for example, is perhaps the most famous Wikipedia editor – he has made over 4.7 million edits, more than any other user on the site. In 2017, Time magazine name of the thing He is one of the top 25 most influential people on the Internet.

Some of these expert users attend Wikipedia editors’ meetings and conferences around the world. “We’re kind of like ants,” Moore said. “You kind of find how you fit in and how you can help.”

Although Wikipedia’s topics are different, it has evolved over the years destination for the latest information In breaking news. Wikipedia articles on current events often bring in hundreds of thousands of views, and other major technology companies, such as Facebook and YouTube, often use Wikipedia to Fact-checking content on their own platforms. (Wikipedia entries summarize, provide, and cite authoritative sources, as well as links to helpful sources that might otherwise be considered incidental to a traditional news article.)

There is also a gravitas and culture around people involved in high-profile breaking news situations on Wikipedia, said Lynn Raspberry, who works in the University of Virginia’s School of Data Science and has been a volunteer Wikipedia editor for 10 years.

“It feels great to be the first person to create an article, especially if you do it well with high-quality contributions,” Rasberry said. “Just as a celebrity dies, there is a rush to go to Wikipedia and change it [date of] the death. People like to be first…and to make an impact too” getting reliable and accurate information quickly.

To help monitor incoming edits and predict misconduct or errors, Wikipedia — like Twitter — uses artificial intelligence bots that can escalate suspicious content to human reviewers who monitor the content. However, volunteer editors in the Wikipedia community make decisions about what to remove or edit. The platform also employs moderators, known as “trusted users”, who can apply for or nominate for the role, to help monitor content.

Rasberry, who also wrote the Wikipedia page at Platform validationsHe said that Wikipedia does not employ paid employees to monitor anything unless it involves “exotic and unusual serious crimes such as terrorism or violence in the real world, such as using Wikipedia to make threats, plan suicide, or when Wikipedia itself is part of a crime.”

Rasberry said the defects range from a geographical bias, which relate to the challenges of cross-language communication; Internet access in low- and middle-income countries; and barriers to press freedom around the world.

In addition, the organization behind Wikipedia has an ex He said You think only a small percentage of Wikipedia editors are women. Other issues includedeletion— when an article is deleted because there is not enough press to support the topic — and Ideological biaswhere Wikipedia may match the ideological bias of the news ecosystem.

Another issue Vandalism, or people who intentionally make incorrect edits to Wikipedia pages. But Moore said he doesn’t worry about his pages falling victim to vandalism because he believes Wikipedia’s guidelines and policies work in his favour.

“I have many other editors that I work with who will support me, so when we encounter vandalism, trolls, disinformation or disinformation, editors are quick to roll back inappropriate edits or remove inappropriate or poorly sourced content,” Moore said.

While “liberation wars” can happen on the pages, Rasberry said this is most often caused by social issues rather than the news. People have long assumed liberation wars [play out on] Wikipedia and it does not happen as often as outsiders would expect.” “Wikipedia has technological and social structures in place, which most people find acceptable and appropriate, and which allow many people to edit at once.”

Wikipedia also publicly displays who edits each version of an article via file History pagealong with a “talk” page for each post that allows editors to openly discuss edits.

“Administrators are very quick to ban those who don’t abide by the rules, so if you’re coming to Wikipedia with bad intent, you’re wasting your time because we’ll ban you from contributing to the site,” Moore said.

There are challenges in users’ full access to news on Wikipedia as well. Rasberry said that due to news or magazine subscription costs, some Wikipedia editors may not be able to access and cite these sources in their updates. “Media access and interpretation is the main bottleneck,” Raspberry said [should] Seeing Wikipedia more as a collaborator than a competing news source.

Wikipedia volunteers have created many guidelines about reliable news sources. The Wikipedia page dedicated to the topic states that articles should be “based on reliable, published sources, making sure to cover all significant majority and minority opinions that have appeared in those sources.”

“If no reliable sources can be found on a topic, Wikipedia should not contain an article on that topic,” the page said.

Although Moore is known among friends, colleagues, and those in the Wikipedia editor community as a Wikipedia influencer, the weight of that title is much less than the fame one can earn on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

He said, “I don’t spend all my time contributing to Facebook and Twitter and these other platforms because I feel so strongly about Wikipedia’s mission.” “If it was a paid ad site or if it had a different mission, I wouldn’t waste my time.”

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