Difference between revisions of "Cvillepedia:About"
m (Protected "cvillepedia:About" [edit=sysop:move=sysop])
Revision as of 22:55, 6 May 2009
cvillepedia aims to be the most accurate and thorough source for information about local government in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The content of cvillepedia is free, written collaboratively by members of the community. This website is a wiki, which means that anyone with access to an Internet-connected computer can edit, correct, or improve information throughout the encyclopedia, simply by creating an account and clicking the edit this page link (with a few minor exceptions, such as protected articles and the main page). The goal is to provide a community-driven resource that can assist all residents understand how their local community's future is planned.
In every article, links will guide you to related articles, often with additional information. You are welcome to add further information, cross-references, or citations, so long as you do so within cvillepedia's editing policies and to an appropriate standard. You do not need to fear accidentally damaging cvillepedia when you add or improve information, as other contributors are always around to advise or correct obvious errors if needed, and the cvillepedia encyclopedia software, known as MediaWiki, is carefully designed to allow easy reversal of editorial mistakes.
Because cvillepedia is an ongoing work to which in principle anybody can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in some very important ways. In particular, older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while newer articles may still contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this in order to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation which has been recently added and not yet removed. However, unlike a paper reference source, cvillepedia seeks to be completely up-to-date, with articles on topical events being created or updated within minutes or hours, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias.
- For help topics, questions and contact information, see Help:Contents.
All the text in cvillepedia, and most of the images and other content, is covered by a Creative Commons license. Visitors are free to to copy, distribute and display the works contained herein with some restrictions (see the copyright notice and the content disclaimer for more information). Content in this article relies heavily on a similar notice on Pensapedia, a wiki created for Pensacola, Florida.
How to Contribute
Anyone can contribute to cvillepedia by creating an account and clicking on the Edit this page tab in an article. It is important to realize that in contributing to cvillepedia users are expected to be civil and neutral, respecting all points of view, and only add verifiable and factual information rather than personal views and opinions. Also, given the regional nature of cvillepedia, users are strongly discouraged from creating "vanity pages."
Making the best use of cvillepedia
Many visitors come to this site to acquire knowledge, others to share knowledge. In fact, at this very instant, dozens of articles are being improved. You can view the changes at the Recent changes page. New articles are also being recorded. Many different kinds of people help to write cvillepedia articles. The hope of any contributor is to provide useful and accurate information to others, and the projects help coordinate efforts. Most articles start as stubs, but after many contributions, they can become featured articles.
If you've determined that there is no article on cvillepedia on a topic you are interested in, you may want to request the article be written (or you could even research the issue and write it yourself).
You can also view random articles.
cvillepedia articles are all linked, or cross-referenced. Wherever you see highlighted text like this, it means there is a link to some relevant article or cvillepedia page with further in-depth information elsewhere if you need it. Holding your mouse over the link will often show you where a link will take you. You are always one click away from more information on any point that has a link attached.
There are other links towards the ends of most articles, for other articles of interest, relevant external web sites and pages, reference material, and organized categories of knowledge which you can search and traverse in a loose hierarchy for more information.
Some articles may also include interactive maps, audio-video media, quotations, or links to the same article in other languages.
You can add further links if a relevant link is missing, and this is one way to contribute.
Using cvillepedia as a research tool
As a wiki, articles are never complete. They are continually edited and improved over time, and in general this results in an upward trend of quality, and a growing consensus over a fair and balanced representation of information.
Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start. Indeed, many articles commence their lives as partisan, and it is after a long process of discussion, debate and argument, that they gradually take on a consensus form. Others may for a while become caught up in a heavily unbalanced viewpoint which can take some time - months perhaps - to extricate themselves and regain a better balanced consensus.
In part, this is because cvillepedia operates an internal resolution process when editors cannot agree on content and approach, and such issues take time to come to the attention of more experienced editors.
The ideal cvillepedia article is balanced, neutral and encyclopedic, containing notable verifiable knowledge. An increasing number of articles reach this standard over time, and many already have. However this is a process and can take months or years to be achieved, as each user adds their contribution in turn. Some articles contain statements and claims which have not yet been fully cited. Others will later have entire new sections added. Some information will be considered by later contributors to be insufficiently founded, and may be removed or expounded.
While the overall trend is generally upward, it is important to use cvillepedia carefully if it is intended to be used as a research source, since individual articles will, by their nature, vary in standard and maturity.
Summary of strengths, weaknesses and article quality in cvillepedia
cvillepedia's greatest strengths, weaknesses and differences arise because it is open to anyone, has a large contributor base, and articles are written by consensus according to editorial guidelines and policies.
- cvillepedia is open to a large contributor base - so it is less susceptible to retaining bias, is very hard for any group to censor, and is far more responsive to new information, especially information not widely known in the West, and it is more easily vandalized or susceptible to unchecked information later needing removal.
- cvillepedia is written by consensus - so eventually for most articles, all notable views become fairly described and a very neutral stance can be achieved even on emotive subjects, and the reaching of consensus takes considerably longer than a simple drafting, and is occasionally made harder by extreme-viewpoint contributors. (Articles also tend to be more fluid or changeable for a long time compared to other reference sources until they find their "neutral approach" that all sides can agree on.)
- Having a very large number of active writers and editors, cvillepedia often provides access and breadth on subject matter that is otherwise inaccessible or unconsolidated.
- cvillepedia often produces excellent encyclopedic articles and resources covering newsworthy events within hours or days of their occurrence.
- cvillepedia is one of few sites even attempting neutral, objective, encyclopedic coverage of Charlottesville's history, local government and current events.
- In comparison with most web-based resources, cvillepedia's open approach tremendously increases the chances that any particular factual error or misleading statement will be relatively promptly corrected.
- There is no one central point where censorship can be imposed, and therefore censorship by any given group, restriction to "officially reported" sources, or "pushing" of any particular viewpoint, whether official or unofficial, is difficult to achieve and almost always fails after a time.
- In contrast with many web resources, information added to cvillepedia never "vanishes", and is never "lost" or deleted.
- cvillepedia's radical openness means that any given article may be, at any given moment, in a bad state, such as in the middle of a large edit, a controversial rewrite, or recently vandalized.
- cvillepedia operates a full editorial dispute resolution process, that allows time for discussion and resolution in depth, but also permits months-long disagreements before poor quality or biased edits will be removed forcibly.
- While blatant vandalism is usually easily spotted and rapidly corrected, cvillepedia is more subject to subtle vandalism and viewpoint promotion than a typical reference work.
- There is no systematic process to make sure that "obviously important" topics are written about, so cvillepedia may contain unexpected oversights and omissions.
- Articles may be incomplete in ways that would be less usual in a more tightly controlled reference work, for example some aspects may be well covered but others briefly or not at all.
- Many contributors do not yet comply fully with key policies, or may add information without citable sources.
Material in this article is modified from a similar about page created for Pensapedia.
For more information, contact Sean Tubbs & Brian Wheeler 434-295-4955