The JacksonHeights.nyc site will experiment with a wiki, like Wikipedia, but just about Jackson Heights. It will be created and curated by residents, presenting information about the people, places, and things in and around Jackson Heights.
To begin the development process, guidelines need to be drawn as to what does and doesn’t go on this wiki. For a start, we will follow the guidelines used by the U.S. Wikipedia.
The 5 Pillars
Good Wikipedia contributions are based on 5 “pillars“:
- Wikipedia is an encyclopedia: It combines many features of general and specialized encyclopedias, almanacs, and gazetteers. Wikipedia is not a soapbox, an advertising platform, a vanity press, an experiment in anarchy or democracy, an indiscriminate collection of information, or a web directory. It is not a dictionary, a newspaper, or a collection of source documents, although some of its fellow Wikimedia projects are.
- Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view: We strive for articles that document and explain major points of view, giving due weight with respect to their prominence in an impartial tone. We avoid advocacy and we characterize information and issues rather than debate them. In some areas there may be just one well-recognized point of view; in others, we describe multiple points of view, presenting each accurately and in context rather than as “the truth” or “the best view”. All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, authoritative sources, especially when the topic is controversial or is on living persons. Editors’ personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong.
- Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, and distribute: Since all editors freely license their work to the public, no editor owns an article and any contributions can and will be mercilessly edited and redistributed. Respect copyright laws, and never plagiarize from sources. Borrowing non-free media is sometimes allowed as fair use, but strive to find free alternatives first.
- Editors should treat each other with respect and civility: Respect your fellow Wikipedians, even when you disagree. Apply Wikipedia etiquette, and don’t engage in personal attacks. Seek consensus, avoid edit wars, and never disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point. Act in good faith, and assume good faith on the part of others. Be open and welcoming to newcomers. Should conflicts arise, discuss them calmly on the appropriate talk pages, follow dispute resolution procedures, and consider that there are 5,221,759 articles on the English Wikipedia to improve and discuss.
- Wikipedia has no firm rules: Wikipedia has policies and guidelines, but they are not carved in stone; their content and interpretation can evolve over time. The principles and spirit matter more than literal wording, and sometimes improving Wikipedia requires making exceptions. Be bold but not reckless in updating articles. And do not agonize over making mistakes: every past version of a page is saved, so mistakes can be easily corrected.
Biographies of Living People
With regard to biographies of living people, we’ll face difficult decisions as we’re dealing with neighbors. Let’s begin by following the U.S. or English Wikipedia guidelines:
“Editors must take particular care when adding information about living persons to any Wikipedia page. Such material requires a high degree of sensitivity, and must adhere strictly to all applicable laws in the United States, to this policy, and to Wikipedia’s three core pillars for content policies:
Additionally, U.S. Wikipedia advises,
- “We must get the article right. Be very firm about the use of high-quality sources. All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be explicitly attributed to a reliable, published source, which is usually done with an inline citation. Contentious material about living persons (or, in some cases, recently deceased) that is unsourced or poorly sourced – whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable – should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion. Users who persistently or egregiously violate this policy may be blocked from editing.
- Biographies of living persons (“BLPs”) must be written conservatively and with regard for the subject’s privacy. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid: it is not Wikipedia’s job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people’s lives; the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment. This policy applies to any living person mentioned in a BLP, whether or not that person is the subject of the article, and to material about living persons in other articles and on other pages, including talk pages. The burden of evidence rests with the editor who adds or restores material.”
One area where we are likely to differ from the standard Wikipedia is in notability.
On Wikipedia, notability is a test used by editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article. For people, the person who is the topic of a biographical article should be “worthy of notice” or “note” – that is, “remarkable” or “significant, interesting, or unusual enough to deserve attention or to be recorded” within Wikipedia as a written account of that person’s life. “Notable” in the sense of being “famous” or “popular” – although not irrelevant – is secondary.
This notability guideline for biographies reflects consensus reached through discussions and reinforced by established practice, and informs decisions on whether an article about a person should be written, merged, deleted or further developed. For advice about how to write biographical articles, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies) and Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons.
The article title should define what the article is about. If there is enough valid content to fill an article about the person, then “John Doe” would be an appropriate title. If, however, there is only enough information about one notable event related to the person, then the article should be titled specifically about that event, such as Steve Bartman incident. Sometimes when a famous person dies, there is enough information for an article about their death, such as Death of Michael Jackson or Death of Diana, Princess of Wales. If a notable person’s main article is too long to contain all of their works, then a separate page can be created for that information, such as George Orwell bibliography. If the person was the subject of a notable murder, then a title such as Murder of Kitty Genovese is appropriate.
There is a good deal more about this topic on Wikipedia’s notability page. What’s our notability standard?
Start with this Wikipedia page on Jimmy Wales. Also review:
- The Mediation Committee – The Committee is a panel of editors who resolve content disputes on Wikipedia articles by providing formal mediation. The Mediation Committee was established with the Arbitration Committee in January 2004 by Jimmy Wales and is the last stage of content dispute resolution on the English Wikipedia. Mediation is entered into voluntarily by the parties to the dispute and does not result in binding resolutions.
- The Arbitration Committee – This panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. The arbitration policy describes the Committee’s roles and responsibilities in greater detail.
- Administrators – Commonly known as admins or sysops (system operators), are Wikipedia editors who have been granted the technical ability to perform certain special actions on the English Wikipedia. They include the ability to block and unblock user accounts and IP addresses from editing, edit fully protected pages, protect and unprotect pages from editing, delete and undelete pages, rename pages without restriction, and use certain other tools.
- Bureaucrats -These are Wikipedia users with the technical ability to add the administrator, bureaucrat, account creator, reviewer, or bot user group to an account, and to remove the administrator, account creator, IP block exemption, reviewer, or bot user group from an account.
For more information about Wikipedia’s operation see here.