Reflection on Collaborative Wiki Writing

Book shelves with books and warm light bulbs in a hallway.
Photo Credit: SI Janko Ferlic, Unsplash

The collaborative wiki project on the subject of Technical Writing in the Digital Age has been one of the most engaging projects I have participated in. It has been satisfying to learn these useful wiki skills throughout the semester and actually see my contributions help the article come along.

My Contributions

My most substantial contribution to the collaborative project were my additions under the now subtitled “User Experience” section. I added the User Centered Design (UCD) section there that details the suggested methodology for approaching a technical document with UCD in mind. UCD is an important aspect of technical writing in the digital age, so I felt it was important to include it. Another classmate has adjusted the previous format of the section to its current one, and I think it looks much better now, but most of my edits have been unchanged. 

When I first added the UCD methodology, I believe the heading was something like “User Design,” and it was mostly bare. I would like to think that by adding my part, it helped to identify a need for the article to include a more focused section on user experience. Prior, user experience was mentioned in other areas of the article, but it did not have its own section that went into more detail. 

I have also contributed to the project by reading through the article several times and correcting small things like grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure to, hopefully, create a more cohesive and well put together article. An example of a smaller edit I made is that I removed the word “elucidate” and replaced it with a more straightford “explain.” I consider myself to have a decent grasp on vocabulary, but I had to look up the word to be sure I knew what it meant, so I determined that it would be best to avoid that type of word in a wiki so that it does not distract the reader from the article. 

Overall, I feel like though many of my contributions were small, they have helped improve the article bit by bit. 

Earlier Versions vs Now

One thing I have observed while working on this project is that it has been a messy process! The article is so much more detailed and expansive than it was towards the beginning of the semester. The organization has improved greatly as we have all got a better handle on the content and plan for the article, but that took time and a lot of trial and error to create. I think that it is coming together very nicely, and I am excited to see where it is on December 1st. 

What I Learned

The main thing I learned from contributing to this LitWiki project was how to contribute to a wiki! I will be honest. Before this class, I never really considered contributing to a wiki. I was just thankful for all the people who were responsible for the vastness that is Wikipedia so that I could find any information I needed with just a quick search. 

Beyond how to contribute, I learned how regulated and well-researched a Wikipedia needs to be, which was quite surprising since I was taught in childhood, by well-meaning teachers, that Wikipedia could not be trusted.

I come away from this course with a clearer understanding of the wiki writing process and with a new found respect for wikis as a whole. It is tough, but engaging work!

Elaine Streeter

Elaine Streeter

Elaine is a creative and professional writer based in Columbus, GA.