Sunday, May 29, 2011

Poet biographies by George Dance at Wikinfo

I have been planning to write biographies of some of the poets featured on The Penny Blog for some time, and during April and May I have been doing just that. I found the perfect venue for them - Wikipedia - and over the two months I wrote (meaning I either wrote from scratch, or rewrote from the bottom up) almost 100 articles on Wikipedia, mainly on Canadian poets.

However, despite the user-friendliness of the Wikipedia medium, the friendliness of the Wikipedia community is another thing. Half a dozen of its editors objected to my including reciprocal links from the articles to the poems in The Penny Blog (calling them 'spamming' and me a 'spammer'); three or four of those began cutting those and other links out of my articles; two of those went so far as to interefere with my own posting.

Fortunately I have found a more congenial vemue: Wikinfo. Wikinfo is a smaller encyclopedia which began as a fork from Wikipedia. (Forks from Wikipedia are created when someone disagrees with one of Wikipedia's five pillars, and Jim Wales tells him to "Fork off.") Besides the difference in size -- Wikipedia is far larger and much more bureaucratic -- there are some differences in policy. The one I appreciated, for my project, was Wikinfo's policy of letting me post my biographies as signed articles, which no one can edit but me.

People are allowed to copy my articles -- Wikinfo licenses its text under Creative Commons and GNU Free Documentation licenses, like Wikipedia, but as a default rather than something compulsory as with the latter. Others may also alter the copies they make. However, no one besides me has a right to alter the signed copy at the Wikinfo site. Wikinfo users may all edit the unsigned copy of the article, one of which will be posted for each signed article.

On The Penny Blog, a link to the poet's biography (when written) will be added to that poet's poems, at the bottom of the post. You can see the format in the poems of the two poets so linked so far: Bliss Carman and Archibald Lampman. Others biographies will follow as quickly as possible. Penny and I hope that you will enjoy reading them. 

1 comment:

  1. Do you know about my awesome Canadian teacher, Matt Rader?