TagWikipedia

Wikipedia is a privilege

Originally written as an essay response for ENGL-450 Free and Open Source Culture at the Rochester Institute of Technology.


Growing up with easy access to the Internet grants the privilege of experiencing effortless knowledge and high availability of information. Wikipedia is an example of 21st century cooperation and collaboration. For many, it represents a beacon of free information and self-education. Some might credit it for charting wider participation in the movement towards free content and open resources.

Yet Wikipedia remains a tool of power and privilege, absent for many as societal myths perpetuate in the lives of children. As children are exposed to the Internet at earlier ages, their comprehension and correlation to the real world is in the context of living in a digitized society. In simpler words, everything they ever know always has technology, tablets, smart-phones, and smart devices present. There is no split experience of going from have-nots to haves.

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How I accidentally wrote a Wikipedia page on a layover in Dublin

One of the most unusual but wonderful experiences happened to me on a return trip from Europe to the United States.

A series of heavy noreasters hit the US east coast over the last couple weeks. This coincided with my travel dates back to Rochester, NY. While we didn’t have flooding, we had a lot of snow. A lot of snow means canceled flights.

As I made my way through border control in Dublin, Ireland on March 7, I discovered my connection to New York City would likely be canceled. A meander from baggage claim to the check-in desk confirmed this. Fortunately, Aer Lingus had no issue putting me up in a hotel overnight with dinner and breakfast to catch the next flight to New York the next day.

While waiting in airport queues, a friend happened to retweet a local event happening in Dublin the next day.

The event was a local Wikimedia meet-up to celebrate International Women’s Day. Participants would create and edit Wikipedia pages for influential women in the history of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. After digging deeper, I found out the event was 30 minutes away from my hotel from 09:30 to 12:30. My flight was at 16:10.

I put in my RSVP.

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