In the study, a class on editing Wikipedia was offered between 2013 and 2015 to final-year medical students. Collectively, 43 students edited 43 Wikipedia articles. Student contributions were reviewed by classroom peers, topic experts, and the Wikipedia community. Following the class, the Wikipedia articles edited by the students were accessed more than 22 million times by Wikipedia readers. The authors of the paper argue that students met learning goals by editing Wikipedia, and that Wikipedia is an efficient way for anyone to share information with a large, relevant audience.
The research is significant because Wikipedia continues to gain popularity as a source of medical information among health-science professionals and students. Having a Wikipedia editing case-study in a medical school is especially pertinent because readers use the information to inform healthcare decisions.
Historically, many Wikipedia outreach projects have focused on reporting Wikipedia participation. This study highlighted the impact to readers by tracking Wikipedia pageviews of the articles edited by the students. Although a comparison to other publishing channels was outside the scope of the study, the paper does provocatively ask if a student-written article "garners over 100,000 views/ month, might those edits constitute the greatest contribution to the medical literature in that student’s nascent career?”
Following this paper’s publication, the authors make the following calls to action:
First, they would like Wikipedians to support instructors in considering class projects that include student Wikipedia editing. When an instructor and students can accept the time involved in the Wikipedia Education Program, the students gain practical experience in new media publishing; Wikipedia editors access high-quality information to process; professors have the opportunity to guide text in their field of expertise that will be widely read around the world; the school gains prestige for making a real-world impact, and Wikipedia readers have access to improved information in Wikipedia articles.
Second, the authors would like ask whether any method exists which is more efficient to share general interest information than Wikipedia. Right now, Wikipedia’s significance is broadly doubted in education, publishing, and the media. Despite the doubts, perhaps no other organization reaches a larger or more relevant audience than Wikipedia in medicine, or any other field for that matter. Are there other reputable authorities who will make their readership metrics public for comparison? LR
Ray Saintonge (Eclecticology) dies
||After a courageous battle with cancer, my loving husband, my best friend, and a wonderful father passed away peacefully yesterday morning. Thanks to everyone who helped us through this journey.
Thus Ray Saintonge's wife announced the death of the longtime Wikimedian. Raymond Michael Saintonge, better known to many Wikimedians as User:Eclecticology, died at the age of 73 on September 12, 2016, with his family at his side.
True to his username, Ray impacted numerous facets of the Wikimedia world in a wiki career of 14 years. His local newspaper in Richmond, British Columbia published a death notice, and many Wikimedians learned of his passing through a message posted to Facebook (not publicly visible), and republished to the Wikimedia-L email list, comprising a short message from his family in English and French.
Ray first edited Wikipedia in February 2002, with a series of additions to the Library of Congress catalog scheme page. Making more than 1,000 edits in his first month, to topics as varied as chess, Shakespeare, indigenous peoples, as well as service pages like disambiguation and talk pages, he had clearly found a platform that facilitated exploration of his varied interests. His English Wikipedia user page still carries a barnstar, awarded in 2011, for his contributions to The Cambridge Modern History. Ray was among those credited by Andrew Lih, in the acknowledgments for his 2009 book Wikipedia Revolution, as among "those who gave special insight on the community".
But Ray didn't stop with Wikipedia; according to his several user pages, he was involved with the launch of Wikisource, and was Wiktionary's first bureaucrat. Over the years, he accumulated 36,000 edits to 62 Wikimedia sites. His early and ongoing engagement was cited in a 2008 email discussion building the case for registration of the Wikimedia trademarks in Canada. One illustration of the breadth of Ray's interests was his work on the "Authors lists" for the site Canada's Early Women Writers, a project based at the University of Alberta, where his detailed work is in evidence in the discussions at the bottom of the initial page.
Ray attended each of the first ten annual Wikimania conferences, beginning in Frankfurt in 2005. He shared this distinction with just seven others. Colleagues praised his unwavering attendance, his pleasant manner, and his insights in their comments on Wikimedia-L.
Ray's contributions to Meta Wiki reflect his ongoing interest in the policies and organizational structures of the Wikimedia movement. For many years he was a valued participant in mailing lists such as Wikimedia-L (previously known as Foundation-L). He ran for a seat on the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees in 2008; his candidate statement offers a glimpse into his background, his personality, and his philosophical views relating to Wikimedia. He mentioned his career as a tax consultant, and his volunteer work in his son's school district; and described himself as a "manic" book collector and a "clutterholic". He emphasized his interest in governance issues, and in the importance of grassroots leadership and the autonomy of Wikimedia projects. He expressed concern about technical obstacles to editing, and advocated for chapters taking a leading role in decentralizing Wikimedia's organizational structure. In 2014, he added his name to a letter to Wikimedia Foundation leadership (which I wrote), reflecting his ongoing interest in less centralized control.
Ray's interest in governance and politics never pushed aside his core appreciation for sharing knowledge, or his drive to connect with colleagues. A moment recalled by Benoit Rochon, a colleague at Wikimedia Canada who was visiting Ray's home, reveals that passion: Ray, with eyes sparkling, handed Benoit the oldest book he has ever held in his life. Llywrch—himself no stranger to the challenges of an unusual username—recalled Ray sharing his own amusement that nobody could pronounce his username.
Ray served on the Chapters Committee from 2010 to 2013, during which time it changed its name to the Affiliations Committee (AffCom), and adjusted its scope. It was during Ray's tenure on AffCom that I made his acquaintance at several conferences; we shared a hotel room, and several enjoyable conversations, during the 2011 Wikimania conference. Ray and his colleagues on AffCom grappled with governance issues that continue to the present day, as covered in the previous edition of the Signpost.
In 2011, Ray joined the Board of Directors of Wikimedia Canada, where he served for several years. In 2012, the founder of the site Wikilivres (an independently run site that complements Wikisource, hosting books which are in the Public Domain in Canada but not yet in the United States) needed to step aside; Ray, who had participated there since 2009, took the reins. The Wikilivres community is currently discussing its plans going forward, and appears likely to transition smoothly to a new operator.
Marcus Cyron has written In memory of Ray on the German Wikipedia's Kurier.
Those who knew or knew of Ray are encouraged to share memories in the comments below, or on one of his various user pages. Ray's family would appreciate donations in his name to the BC Cancer Foundation or the Salvation Army Rotary Hospice House. PF