Difference between revisions of "Pensapedia:About"

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Latest revision as of 13:27, 5 July 2011

Welcome to Pensapedia, the Pensacola encyclopedia.

Pensapedia aims to be the most comprehensive and accurate source for information on Pensacola and the surrounding area. The content of Pensapedia is free, written collaboratively by members of the community. This website is a wiki, which means that anyone with access to an Internet-connected computer can edit, correct, or improve information throughout the encyclopedia, simply by creating an account and clicking the edit this page link (with a few minor exceptions, such as protected articles and the main page).

In every article, links will guide you to associated articles, often with additional information. You are welcome to add further information, cross-references, or citations, so long as you do so within Pensapedia's editing policies and to an appropriate standard. You do not need to fear accidentally damaging Pensapedia when you add or improve information, as other contributors are always around to advise or correct obvious errors if needed, and the Pensapedia encyclopedia software, known as MediaWiki, is carefully designed to allow easy reversal of editorial mistakes.

Because Pensapedia is an ongoing work to which in principle anybody can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in some very important ways. In particular, older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while newer articles may still contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this in order to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation which has been recently added and not yet removed. (See Pensapedia:Researching with Pensapedia for more details). However, unlike a paper reference source, Pensapedia is completely up-to-date, with articles on topical events being created or updated within minutes or hours, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias.

If you have not done so, we invite you to take a few moments to read What Pensapedia is (and is not) and Researching with Pensapedia, so that you have an understanding of how to use, rely upon or contribute to Pensapedia as you continue. Further information on key topics can be found below.

Happy browsing!

See also: Introduction.
For help topics, questions and contact information, see Help:Contents.
For news about the site, see Pensapedia:News.

About Pensapedia[edit]

Pensapedia history[edit]

Coming soon.

Pensapedia statistics[edit]

As of today, there are 2,389 articles that make up Pensapedia; every day visitors create and revise articles to enhance the amount of knowledge held by the Pensapedia encyclopedia. Visitors do not need any special qualifications to contribute, and people of all ages help to write Pensapedia articles.

All the text in Pensapedia, and most of the images and other content, is covered by a Creative Commons license. Visitors are free to to copy, distribute and display the works contained herein with some restrictions (see the copyright notice and the content disclaimer for more information).

Behind Pensapedia[edit]

Pensapedia uses the MediaWiki software. It's the same open-source program that powers the popular Wikipedia project.

For technical information about Pensapedia, you can check Technical FAQs.

How to Contribute[edit]

Main articles: Tutorial, How to edit a page

Anyone can contribute to Pensapedia by creating an account and clicking on the Edit this page tab in an article. Before beginning to contribute however, you should check out some handy helping tools such as the tutorial as well as our welcome page.

It is important to realize that in contributing to Pensapedia, users are expected to be civil and neutral, respecting all points of view, and only add verifiable and factual information rather than personal views and opinions. Also, given the regional nature of Pensapedia, users are strongly discouraged from creating "vanity pages".

Vandalism, abuse of process, and disputes[edit]

Main articles: Vandalism, Dispute resolution, Sock puppets

Pensapedia has a rich span of methods to handle most abuses which commonly arise, which are well tested and should be relied upon.

  • Wanton vandalism can be reported and corrected by anyone.
  • Abuse of user accounts, such as the creation of Internet sock puppets or solicitation of friends and other parties to enforce a non-neutral viewpoint or inappropriate consensus within a discussion, or to disrupt other Pensapedia processes in an annoying manner, are addressed through the sock puppet policy.
  • Unresolved disputes between editors, whether based upon behavior, editorial approach or validity of content, can be addressed through the talk page of an article or through Pensapedia's comprehensive dispute resolution process.

In addition, brand new users (until they have established themselves a bit) may at the start find that their votes are given less weight by editors in some informal polls in order to prevent abuse.

Making the best use of Pensapedia[edit]

Exploring Pensapedia[edit]

Many visitors come to this site to acquire knowledge, others to share knowledge. In fact, at this very instant, dozens of articles are being improved. You can view the changes at the Recent changes page. New articles are also being recorded. Many different kinds of people help to write Pensapedia articles. The hope of any contributor is to provide useful and accurate information to others, and the projects help coordinate efforts. Most articles start as stubs, but after many contributions, they can become featured articles.

If you've determined that there is no article on Pensapedia on a topic you are interested in, you may want to request the article be written (or you could even research the issue and write it yourself).

You can also view random articles.

Basic navigation in Pensapedia[edit]

Pensapedia articles are all linked, or cross-referenced. Wherever you see highlighted text like this, it means there is a link to some relevant article or Pensapedia page with further in-depth information elsewhere if you need it. Holding your mouse over the link will often show you where a link will take you. You are always one click away from more information on any point that has a link attached.

There are other links towards the ends of most articles, for other articles of interest, relevant external web sites and pages, reference material, and organized categories of knowledge which you can search and traverse in a loose hierarchy for more information.

Some articles may also include interactive maps, audio-video media, quotations, or links to the same article in other languages.

You can add further links if a relevant link is missing, and this is one way to contribute.

Using Pensapedia as a research tool[edit]

Main articles: Researching with Pensapedia

As a wiki, articles are never complete. They are continually edited and improved over time, and in general this results in an upward trend of quality, and a growing consensus over a fair and balanced representation of information.

Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start. Indeed, many articles commence their lives as partisan, and it is after a long process of discussion, debate and argument, that they gradually take on a consensus form. Others may for a while become caught up in a heavily unbalanced viewpoint which can take some time - months perhaps - to extricate themselves and regain a better balanced consensus.

In part, this is because Pensapedia operates an internal resolution process when editors cannot agree on content and approach, and such issues take time to come to the attention of more experienced editors.

The ideal Pensapedia article is balanced, neutral and encyclopedic, containing notable verifiable knowledge. An increasing number of articles reach this standard over time, and many already have. However this is a process and can take months or years to be achieved, as each user adds their contribution in turn. Some articles contain statements and claims which have not yet been fully cited. Others will later have entire new sections added. Some information will be considered by later contributors to be insufficiently founded, and may be removed or expounded.

While the overall trend is generally upward, it is important to use Pensapedia carefully if it is intended to be used as a research source, since individual articles will, by their nature, vary in standard and maturity. There are guidelines and information pages designed to help users and researchers do this effectively.

Summary of strengths, weaknesses and article quality in Pensapedia[edit]

Pensapedia's greatest strengths, weaknesses and differences arise because it is open to anyone, has a large contributor base, and articles are written by consensus according to editorial guidelines and policies.

  • Pensapedia is open to a large contributor base - so it is less susceptible to retaining bias, is very hard for any group to censor, and is far more responsive to new information, especially information not widely known in the West, and it is more easily vandalized or susceptible to unchecked information later needing removal.
  • Pensapedia is written by consensus - so eventually for most articles, all notable views become fairly described and a very neutral stance can be achieved even on emotive subjects, and the reaching of consensus takes considerably longer than a simple drafting, and is occasionally made harder by extreme-viewpoint contributors. (Articles also tend to be more fluid or changeable for a long time compared to other reference sources until they find their "neutral approach" that all sides can agree on.)

Key strengths:

  • Having a very large number of active writers and editors, Pensapedia often provides access and breadth on subject matter that is otherwise inaccessible or unconsolidated.
  • Pensapedia often produces excellent encyclopedic articles and resources covering newsworthy events within hours or days of their occurrence.
  • Pensapedia is one of few sites even attempting neutral, objective, encyclopedic coverage of Pensacola's history and current events.
  • In comparison with most web-based resources, Pensapedia's open approach tremendously increases the chances that any particular factual error or misleading statement will be relatively promptly corrected.
  • There is no one central point where censorship can be imposed, and therefore censorship by any given group, restriction to "officially reported" sources, or "pushing" of any particular viewpoint, whether official or unofficial, is difficult to achieve and almost always fails after a time.
  • In contrast with many web resources, information added to Pensapedia never "vanishes", and is never "lost" or deleted.

Key weaknesses:

  • Pensapedia's radical openness means that any given article may be, at any given moment, in a bad state, such as in the middle of a large edit, a controversial rewrite, or recently vandalized.
  • Pensapedia operates a full editorial dispute resolution process, that allows time for discussion and resolution in depth, but also permits months-long disagreements before poor quality or biased edits will be removed forcibly.
  • While blatant vandalism is usually easily spotted and rapidly corrected, Pensapedia is more subject to subtle vandalism and viewpoint promotion than a typical reference work.
  • There is no systematic process to make sure that "obviously important" topics are written about, so Pensapedia may contain unexpected oversights and omissions.
  • Articles may be incomplete in ways that would be less usual in a more tightly controlled reference work, for example some aspects may be well covered but others briefly or not at all.
  • Many contributors do not yet comply fully with key policies, or may add information without citable sources.