Writing up rather than writing down: Becoming Wikipedia Literate

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Writing up rather than writing down: Becoming Wikipedia Literate is a 2012 conference paper written in English by Heather Ford, R. Stuart Geiger and published in WikiSym.

[edit] Abstract

Editing Wikipedia is certainly not as simple as learning the MediaWiki syntax and knowing where the “edit” bar is, but how do we conceptualize the cultural and organizational understandings that make an effective contributor? We draw on work of literacy practitioner and theorist Richard Darville to advocate a multi-faceted theory of literacy that sheds light on what new knowledges and organizational forms are required to improve participation in Wikipedia’s communities. We outline what Darville refers to as the “background knowledges” required to be an empowered, literate member and apply this to the Wikipedia community. Using a series of examples drawn from interviews with new editors and qualitative studies of controversies in Wikipedia, we identify and outline several different literacy asymmetries.

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