How YOU can help improve Wikipedia firearms coverage!


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MatthewVanitas
April 17, 2009, 01:15 AM
First off, I'll note that you can like Wikipedia or no, but you can't deny that millions upon millions of people turn to it for information. So far as firearms go, just for example here's the monthly view-count for some popular firearms:

AK-47: nearly 2 million views per month
AR-15: 120,000
Glock: 60,000
M16: 30,000
M1 Garand: 30,000

But what about obscure firearms? Heck, "Mossberg Brownie" gets over 1000 hits a month. The "Mauser C96" gets 30,000 per month. Even the "Chamelot Delvigne French 1873" service revolver gets over 1000 views a month.


So the issue isn't whether Wikipedia gun articles get read. The fact is: they do. But what can we do to ensure that Wikipedia gun info is accurate, well-referenced, and comprehensive?

Enter WikiProject:Firearms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:GUNS

This is an ongoing project with only a few dozen regular members, which screens, edits, references, photographs, and just generally improves Wikipedia firearms coverage. If you scroll down the project page you'll see some generally agreed guidelines for how to format, what to include, etc. Again, these are all consensus agreements, not binding law. Further still is a "To Do" list of pages that need copyediting, pages that need photographs, and pages that have not yet been created but would be educational for readers.

If you're interested in Wikipedia in general, or in sharing firearms knowledge, I suggest you take a look at WP:GUNS and see if there's some way you can help out. I've written a good number of articles just based on info from online books and texts in my library (properly footnoted and attributed). I've also taken digital photos of guns I own, so now they're the entire world's example of what Ruger Speed Six looks like.

How can you start? First off, take a look at the page, and especially the checklist. Think of articles that haven't been written yet, or note articles that don't have proper footnotes, or articles missing photos. Do you have a rare gun and a digital camera? Do you have access to some good books that can give a clear citation for a claimed fact on Wikipedia?

If you're a little uncomfortable starting out, don't be worried. On every page there's a tab towards the top labeled "Discussion". If you have ideas that you're not quite sure of how to execute, just hit that button and make a suggestion. The main project page is a great place to do that since it gets plenty of traffic, and if you, say, have a .256 Winchester cartidge you can photograph but aren't quite sure of how to add it, someone at WP:GUNS can help you out.

In the meantime, I'd also be happy to field any questions here as to how to format info, how to provide footnotes, how to add photos, etc. Just throw out any questions and I'll answer as best I can. With the help of even a handful more of well-educated firearms enthusiasts the Wikipedia gun coverage can be made even more accurate and complete, providing literally millions of people with the best info on firearms and firearm issues.

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nalioth
April 17, 2009, 02:41 AM
I have contributed a time or two to Wikipedia gun articles.

It's not hard, and doesn't take a lot of your time or resources.

MatthewVanitas
April 19, 2009, 02:48 PM
So far as easy ways to start helping, definitely take a look at the To Do list on the main WP:GUNS page. Lots of articles that need a little proofreading, that need more footnotes, basic copyediting, etc.

Likewise, if you come across a gun article that needs verifying, image, copyediting, etc. you can let us know about it by adding it to the list. If you don't feel comfortable messing with the list at first, you can just hit the "Discussion" tab at the top and add a post to the bottom of the conversation there.


Here's a screenshot of the list of firearm articles which need a pic. Here's the actual page so you can check out the articles:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:GUNS

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=96595&d=1240163166

OcelotZ3
April 19, 2009, 06:56 PM
Great thread, thanks.

I have used Wikipedia to learn about various firearms I'd never heard of before. I have been pleasantly surprised with the information I've found on there so far.

hangovur
April 19, 2009, 07:32 PM
Wikipedia is meant to to give information in a neutral point of view...... that means nothing from any "Point of View". Including anything about "radical friends" is exactly the POV stuff Wikipedia tries to stay away from. That was a political smear campaign and you would likely not find similar things (his little Keating scandal) in John McCaigns Wiki page. The only people who take those things seriously after viewing them independently is that they are politically charged and not very important. There are other websites for those people.


I find the large majority of Wiki articles to be very concise and accurate. Not 100%, but for the price it cant be beat.

carebear
April 19, 2009, 10:13 PM
Isn't it fortunate then that liberal and conservative are nonsense labels when we're talking about guns.

How many times does it need to be said that gun rights are not tied to any particular party, there are pro-gun "Dems", "liberals", call them what you will and far too many anti-gun "Repubs", "conservatives" and such.

If we'd smarten up and keep our personal social preferences on other hot-button issues out of the gun rights discussion it'd be a lot easier to get pro-gun majorities on both sides of the aisle.

This asinine inability to view gun rights separately from partisan politics cripples our cause.

The idea on the Wiki pages isn't just for political gain, it is for abstract accuracy. An article about, say, the AK-47 doesn't have to devolve into a political whine-fest, it merely needs to accurately state the facts about that particular weapon.

Having the real truth out there about what semi and full auto mean (for instance), even without political commentary, will in and of itself serve to undercut the anti-gun lies that depend on the ignorance of the listener on action types.

bp78
April 19, 2009, 10:36 PM
Good post. I signed up and will contribute more.

MatthewVanitas
April 20, 2009, 02:35 PM
You can argue all day about how there's too much "liberal" influence on this Wiki page or that Wiki page. However, it is inarguable that Wikipedia is an extremely popular site, per the Alexa Top 500 counts it's the seventh most popular site on the Internet.

Why dismiss the whole project because your opinions got shouted down by other editors on one of 2.5 million article pages? Is that a reason not to improve Wikipedia coverage on other topics?


In any case, not here to argue about Wikipedia itself (as mentioned in the first post), but just pointing out how many millions of people get their firearm info from Wikipedia, and how even small efforts from other gun folks goes a long way to improving and expanding that coverage.

I wrote the Mossberg Brownie article and found some public-domain images for it, took less than an hour. And now 1000+ people per month go to that page when they want to know about the Brownie, or they're surfing the Derringer article, see a mention of the Brownie, and follow the Wikilink there. I've learned a ton about firearms from reading Wikipedia articles, and the wiki format with its internal links and categorisations makes it all the easier.

Just as an example of a neat and useful article, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_rifle

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=96654&d=1240248906

It'd just awesome to see the entire series of issue rifles for dozens of nations laid out on one page, and in a format where it can be critiqued, corrected, tweaked, expanded, etc. at-will.

rbernie
April 20, 2009, 02:53 PM
I stand by my comments. Any mention of any criticism of Obama will be deleted within hours. Every possible criticism of Bush was included on their page about him. I'm no big fan of Bush. But I recognize liberalism when I see it and Wikipedia is incredibly liberal. The notion that they don't include any negative comments about people is, frankly, laughable.
I don't care where they stand on politics. Neither does THR, since we don't discuss that here. I do care about getting factual data presented on Wikipedia about guns themselves.

Isn't it fortunate then that liberal and conservative are nonsense labels when we're talking about guns.
Absolutely.

This is a great idea - we should really put our weight behoind this.

Badger Arms
May 12, 2009, 01:27 PM
Here's an exercise for you. Post something on the Wikipedia page on Obama that mentions his associations with his radical friends. I'd bet a dime to a dollar that your contribution with be deleted within an hour. Not only that but if you make the change again they will ban you from posting corrections.

I beg to differ. Wikipedia was developed by a libretarian on libretarian principles. It is not run by a bunch of liberals any more than it's run by a bunch of conservatives. Their policies are clearly slanted toward neutrality. I will argue, however, that their process for determining a reliable source is highly skewed due to their reliance on the media. The media are overwhelmingly liberal and therefore the weight of references from said media will be, of course, liberal.

I don't think that's what Matthew was asking us to do. Guns, by definition, are neither liberal nor conservative. Where there are factual errors, they can be corrected by references to the firearms media. I won't get into the political side, but that is also true.

Entering unsupported and unreferenced statements about Obama is slander. That is why it is removed, not because there is an evil liberal trying to suppress the truth. If it's the truth and you have a good reference for it, it stays.

jerkface11
May 12, 2009, 01:36 PM
How many times does it need to be said that gun rights are not tied to any particular party

That's nice to say but every time I check gun control is still part of the DNC platform.

ijosef
May 12, 2009, 01:40 PM
I've always found their articles on ammunition to be very informative, especially regarding the history of each round and how they came to be.

I guess all one can do is keep editing articles for correct information. I know they'll take down anything deemed politically charged (and they are biased), but when it comes to straight-up facts they're pretty good.

Boris Barowski
May 12, 2009, 01:43 PM
nice of you to post that here, I'm also a wikipedia contributor. (Nick: Boris Barowski)

On the firearms pages, most of it is written by firearms enthousiasts, there isn't really that much vandalism by liberals. It's pretty civilised and if you can stay out the sometimes heated discussions, a very nice place to share your firearms knowledge

Hawk
May 12, 2009, 02:21 PM
So, what does one have to do to get rid of the bogus Mas Ayoob / American Handgunner reference found in the Smith & Wesson entry?

Smith & Wesson announced in March, 2009, that it would begin phasing the internal lock out of its revolver lineup.[16]

The periodical is out and contains no such article and Mas Ayoob himself has said it's bogus on this site.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=436254&page=2

Yet it persists.

mec
May 13, 2009, 02:21 PM
Hopefully, people who read the Wikipedia articles will attempt to chase down reliable sources before accepting the material as factual- much of it is.
A major barrier to serious participation in the project is the nut-magnet environment. For instance, a Bird watcher from Birmingham UK who does not like guns can raise a technical issue regarding copyrights and sandbag an entire article then trail the major contributors across wikipidia and wreck havok with other articles.
If you do edit Wikipedia, be prepared to encounter some psychotic behavior from other "wikipedians." If you enjoy this-fine. You may be able to add to the general knowlege base. In my situation, I retired from the mental health field and have no desire to revisit it as a leasure activity.

It might be interesting if Massad Ayoob went on the S&W article and deleted the material attribute to him. Just as likely though, he would be reverted by a video game enthusiast and wind up in an "edit war."

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
May 14, 2009, 11:12 AM
I'm very interested in this but have (had) no idea how to begin; thanks for the heads-up. :)

J.T. Gerrity
May 16, 2009, 12:17 PM
Good luck changing any Wiki article permanently. This article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Bill_Hickok-Davis_Tutt_shootout) regarding the Tutt-Hickok fight is so full of inaccuracies, legends and half-truths that it is painful to read; however, all of my attempts to correct it have been consistently replaced with the same erroneous nonsense that I tried to amend. Not wanting to be part of an editing war, I've given up trying. Wiki may be a good place to start research on a subject, but only as a start, and any moron that thinks he/she knows the truth about the subject is just as free to disseminate their point of view as the experts are. Until there are checks and balances initiated, Wiki will remain an extremely suspect source of "information".

mec
May 16, 2009, 12:46 PM
part of an editing war

It is instructive to look at the discussion window of various articles and the home page discussions of various contributors.

J.T. Gerrity
May 17, 2009, 11:20 AM
It is instructive to look at the discussion window of various articles and the home page discussions of various contributors

Thanks for the suggestion, MEC. I've added my $.02 to the discussion page; let's see how long it stays there.

Gunnerpalace
May 17, 2009, 01:02 PM
As for the Obama stuff take that to APS,

Oh yeah http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_criticism :D

Otherwise Wiki seems to be pro-gun when talking the laws on guns.

DMF
May 17, 2009, 01:24 PM
I'll note that you can like Wikipedia or no, but you can't deny that millions upon millions of people turn to it for information.Yeah, but rather than waste time trying to improve a severely flawed system, that due to it's nature will always be severely flawed, I will now put my time into convincing people not to use wikipedia at all.

A couple years ago I tried to improve some wikipedia articles by removing factually incorrect statements, and replacing those statements with the factually correct information, and including citations that proved the information I posted was the correct info. A couple of days later I went back and someone had removed everything I had put in those articles, and replaced it with the unsubstantiated lies. Since then I have never tried to improve any wikipedia article, and will take every opportunity to convince others to ignore wikipedia also.

mec
May 17, 2009, 01:46 PM
happens all the time.

WardenWolf
May 17, 2009, 03:43 PM
I have contributed a number of bits and pieces to the Arisaka rifle articles, including a picture of intact Type 99 antiaircraft sights.

max popenker
May 17, 2009, 03:53 PM
I was asked many times to fix or write Wiki articles on firearms, or at least to contribute but every time refused
I do not like being edited by someone i do not know and, more important, someone i do not respect as a knowledgeable person

That's just me, but i use Wiki only as quick source of general information that is hard to make wrong (i.e. some MAJOR historical dates and facts)

JImbothefiveth
May 17, 2009, 04:14 PM
Don't be dicouraged by wikipedia's liberal editors. You want wikipedia to be pro-gun? Then it's time for some pro-gun editing.

How many times does it need to be said that gun rights are not tied to any particular party, there are pro-gun "Dems", "liberals", call them what you will and far too many anti-gun "Repubs", "conservatives" and such. That is not true. According to an organization that both liberal and conservative news sources use, only 31% of republicans want stricter gun laws, only 47% of independants want stricter gun laws, yet about 2 thirds of democrats want stricter gun laws.


This is the Democrat's official take on the matter
Quote:
We can work together to enact and enforce common sense laws and improvements- like closing the gunshow loophole,, improving our background check system, and reinstating the assault weapons ban,


Here's the republicans official take on the matter.
We uphold the right of individual Americans to own firearms, a right which antedated the Constitution and was solemnly confirmed by the Second Amendment. We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller affirming that right, and we assert the individual responsibility to safely use and store firearms. We call on the next president to appoint judges who will similarly respect the Constitution. Gun ownership is responsible citizenship, enabling Americans to defend themselves, their property, and communities.

We condemn frivolous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, which are transparent attempts to deprive citizens of their rights. We oppose federal licensing of law-abiding gun owners and national gun registration as violations of the Second Amendment.

If you enjoyed reading about "How YOU can help improve Wikipedia firearms coverage!" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!