Wikipedia Project Report

Internet Meme

Summary, Analysis, and Critique

The Internet Meme article focuses on defining what a ‘meme’ is and how they’re spread on the internet and on social media platforms. The article describes the evolution of memes, citing their beginnings as images with a text overlay, to how the category now includes GIFs, challenges, and other viral sensations. The popularity of internet memes has led to professional marketing efforts, copyright protection, and a population of individuals that make a living from distributing the content. 

The article itself is rated as being in the C-Class by Wikipedia. This means that Wikipedia recognizes the article as being substantial but missing important content and potentially including irrelevant material. The article has some references to reliable sources but may have significant problems and could benefit from some substantial cleanup efforts. As a result, the article is useful for casual readers but would not be satisfactory for even moderately detailed studies. 

Those that are participating in the Talk section and upkeep of the article seem to disagree on what makes a source reliable. There is disagreement on the meaning of specific terms, such as whether ‘dank memes’ are modern memes or ironic memes. There are also issues in terms of organization and determining what content is relevant and useful for readers. Due to the ever-evolving nature of internet memes, it has also proven to be difficult for contributors to keep up with new additions to the industry. 

In terms of the five pillars of Wikipedia, this article falls short at times. There seems to be a serious issue in terms of finding reliable sources. Considering that internet memes don’t have any formal guidelines or qualifications for creation, this is not surprising. However, contributors make somewhat frequent edits with the intention of improving on the articles weaker points. Despite some edits focusing on controversial issues, such as racist undertones in some internet memes, interaction between users remains polite and professional overall. 

Possible Improvements

The impact that internet memes have on social media is undeniable. However, the article does not acknowledge this to its full extent. Under the username snarlvenom, we wanted to put out the lack of information regarding this topic in the article.There are hundreds, if not thousands, of meme-dedicated accounts on social media with massive followings. The role of social media in the distribution of internet memes should be included in the article to provide current, relevant information about their popularity. 

4chan

Summary, Analysis, and Critique

The 4chan article has been created for the popular website. 4chan itself hosts a wide variety of topics for users to discuss without revealing their identity. 4chan receives around 27 million unique monthly visitors, making it an incredibly influential platform.  

The 4chan article has been rated FA-Class by Wikipedia. This means that the article is a featured article and has passed an in-depth examination by impartial reviewers. Wikipedia has recommended that no new edits be made unless new information comes available. They have also determined that the reader’s experiences are professional, outstanding, and thorough when it comes to reading the article. However, Wikipedia has also recognized the article as being controversial. They uphold their five pillars by encouraging contributors to “be bold, but not reckless” and back up any claims with unbiased, reliable sources. They also remind users on the talk page that Wikipedia is not a forum for discussion of the platform and to refrain from re-starting arguments. 

Users debate issues of neutrality and the reliability of sources more than anything. While interactions are borderline passive-aggressive at times, they remain professional overall. Contributors show an active effort to uphold the five pillars of Wikipedia to the best of their ability. 

Possible Improvements

4chan enjoys a particularly controversial reputation. However, this reputation is not entirely accurate. Under the username Madden4400, we made the suggestion to include a larger mention of the message boards that aren’t so controversial. While it may not be as exciting to read, including the less controversial message boards will provide readers with a more accurate perspective of the versatility and diversity that exists on 4chan.

Reflection

Delving into the world of Wikipedia has provided important insight on the behind-the-scenes aspect of how the platform is run. While there are plenty of opportunities for conversations to get heated, the Talk sections don’t resemble an angry Facebook comment section as much as one would expect. The five pillars of Wikipedia provide context for how the platform would like to be used and maintained. Their emphasis on the importance of using reliable, unbiased sources is respectable. However, they seem to struggle to completely implement this policy and their sources seem to be the largest aspect of debate between users. This issue could be the primary reason that Wikipedia is yet to be recognized as dependable and ‘source-able’ by professional and education institutions. 

Wikipedia is such a widely used, common resource for many of us. Contributing to something provides a much different perspective than just observing it.

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