Wikipedia History and Creative Commons Licences

1) Look at the History and Discussion tabs of several Wikipedia history entries and write about what you see.

I looked up one of my most beloved historical figures, Jane Austen, to see what edits on her wikipedia entry would look like.  I found that the majority were cosmetic revisions, undertaken mostly by a few dedicated individuals who continually returned to her page to touch it up from time to time.  Two that stuck out to me were A.S. Brown and Victoriaearle.  It appears that they return every few months, and for a few days, they read through and adjust the article.  All in all, there are no sweeping changes in the historiography taking place on Austen’s wikipedia page.  I went back to the edits posted on July 17th, 2017, the 200th anniversary of her death, in the hopes that they might be more fruitful, but again, the slight clarifications and adjustments of improperly used words were all that prevailed.

Deciding I wanted to view the edits of a more divisive historical phenomenon, I looked up the Black Panthers.  One of the fairly recent revisions by someone called ForeignX added “black supremacy” to the list of ideologies espoused by the Black Panthers.  This addition was quickly deleted by another user.  I realized I could look at all the revisions ForeignX had ever made.  That list was not disappointing.  The user had edited the National Youth Front page, the Social Democratic Party of Germany page, the Marine le Pen page among many others.  I decided to track down ForeignX’s revisions of the Black Lives Matter page.  ForeignX cited statistics which pertinent to white people’s perception of the Black Lives Matter movement, including that they viewed it as violent and felt that All Lives Matter was a phrase that many white people felt more comfortable with.  What intrigued me about ForeignX was that while they preserved a certain degree of anonymity, I could still ascertain their credibility based on the other additions they made.  It was a really interesting exercise in determining bias despite practical anonymity.

2) Consider what Creative Commons License you might use for your own site.  What role does copyright play in the resources you are working with this semester?

I think the best Creative Commons License would be the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.  This licence allows other people the most leeway, letting them to copy and redistribute the material, as well as adapt it for any purpose, including commercial purposes, as long as it is properly attributed and indicates if changes were made.  The main reason I think this is a suitable license is because I don’t see anything that would be gained from including more restricting terms.  I think making the Cemetery Register as open as possible to as many people as possible is the ultimate goal, and nothing would be gained from disallowing people to use it for commercial gain or keep them from adapting the work for their own purposes.

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