Many of you are probably familiar with Wikipedia, “…the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.” You can find information about virtually anything that you can find in any printed encyclopedia, such as Encyclopedia Britannica or World Book, and probably a lot more because of its open foundations.
Although the fact that anyone can edit any article means that the information in all Wikipedia articles could be suspect, there are a relatively small handful of articles that are known as “featured artcles,” ones that stand out from the 2,347,866 articles available on the English version of Wikipedia, as of this writing.
From Wikipedia: “Featured content represents the best that Wikipedia has to offer. These are the articles, pictures, and other contributions that showcase the polished result of the collaborative efforts that drive Wikipedia. All featured content undergoes a thorough review process to ensure that it meets the highest standards and can serve as an example of our end goals. A small bronze star in the top right corner of a page indicates that the content is featured.”
As of this writing, there are only 2,023 featured articles on Wikipedia—less than nine percent of the articles on Wikipedia have attained featured article status.
Manzanar reached featured article status on September 17, 2007. It was purely coincidental that this was the 20th anniversary of the passage in the House of Representatives of HR442, the legislation that would eventually become the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (the redress bill).
Today, to help commemorate the 39th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, the English version of Wikipedia is featuring the Manzanar article as “today’s featured article” on their main page (only featured articles can be on the main page; this link will only show the Manzanar article on April 26, 2008). What this means is that the many, many people who use Wikipedia daily—the vast majority start at the main page—will see Manzanar when they go to Wikipedia.
Who cares, right? What’s the big deal?
Simply put, Manzanar is getting an amazing amount of exposure because of this and the more people who learn about Manzanar, the better. And on Wikipedia, being on the main page is a big honor for an article, sort of like putting a cherry on top of a hot fudge sundae with whipped cream—a sweet finishing touch.
And in the spirit of full disclosure, your friendly neighbohood blog editor (yours truly) has been the primary author of that article since April, 2007, but no, I’m not trying to toot my own horn. Sure, I’m proud of the accomplishment. But I care more about the fact that more people are going to learn about Manzanar, including many young people around the world. That’s the real reason I’ve contributed to the article and will continue to do so.
The following is a screenshot of Wikipedia’s main page on April 26, 2008 (click on the photo to view a larger version)…
The views expressed in this entry are those of the author, and are not necessarily those of the Manzanar Committee.
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