Watching Wikipedia with the project devoted to television
A television straight from the 1950s.
This week, we’re talking about WikiProject Television with CAWylie, creator of many new articles about television shows on Wikipedia, including Hell on Wheels and The Killing. CAWylie joined Wikipedia about five years ago, when “both basic- and premium-cable television were becoming the ‘go-to-venue’ for some mainstream actors.” CAWylie feels that his work on television-related articles grew out of that trend.
WikiProject Television has a prominent place on the English Wikipedia, and as evidenced by an active talk page, it attracts many editors. It was created in 2003 and started to pick up steam by 2004. It has six project-specific guidelines and a further four writing guidelines, and lists ten related WikiProjects, among them "Actors and filmmakers", "Animation", "Anime and manga", "BBC", and "Screenwriters". In writing articles about popular culture, there are several challenges we discussed that relate to finding reliable sources and good references. CAWylie describes how “In this modern age of press releases, some media outlets mainly just print those, or either just copy each other or Wikipedia itself. Most times you have to follow the breadcrumbs to find the original source.” CAWylie also advises new editors to check out Good Articles on topics that are similar to ones they are trying to write. He adds that if the subject of the article is very new, “it is best to wait for the media outlets to pick up on it. Then fully ‘vet’ the subject by checking the the most reputable sites.” One of the biggest problems, which also leads to gaps in coverage on television articles is that editors can be “so excited to be FIRST to create anything that they forget Wiki-standards, or they use the unreliable IMDB as a main source.”
I asked about contributing to commons:Wikimedia Commons, and CAWylie felt that the commons was “like a separate entity from Wikipedia.” However, uploading screenshots of TV show title screens, or intertitles and crucial scenes from shows, is allowable. CAWylie has even seen fan or user-created logos pass on Wikimedia.
CAWylie tends to edit shows in which he’s familiar with the creative team or likes the show itself. He also edits articles he feels may be of interest to Wikipedia readers. Some of his favorite shows are ones that “change viewers’ perceptions. For example, at first Breaking Bad seemed to me like it would glorify the meth business. I was pleasantly surprised and happily proved wrong.”
One of his favorite articles to work on was the biography of Christopher Chapman, which CAWylie started and expanded. CAWylie says that Chapman was a pioneer in the film industry and influenced the way television was later filmed. CAWylie says that “Biographies are usually more fun to do, as research might reveal info not commonly known,” and he felt honored to create Chapman’s biography.
For anyone interested in getting involved with WikiProject TV, the talk page is active and editors can make requests or ask for help over there. Thanks to CAWylie for sharing his work on Wikipedia!
Check back for the next Signpost on July 30.