My ENC4404 Advanced Writing and Editing class has taken on a huge task, a task that required a heavy amount of participation. We decided to create our own Wikipedia article on a topic that we have based our entire semester on: public sphere writing. Not only was it a group project, but a group project that required the entire class to collaborate as a whole. On the verge of completing this task, I would have to say that the hardest part of it was making everyone’s individual inclusions flow cohesively. In his article “The Rhetoric of Intertextuality,” Frank D’Angelo discusses the term, this term suggests that “every text is connected to other texts by citations, quotations, allusions, borrowings, adaptations, appropriations, parody, pastiche, imitation, and the like. Every text is a diagonal relationship with other texts” (D’Angelo 33). This relationship between texts can be reflected directly within my class’ Wikipedia project. Without the use of intertextuality, our Wikipedia page would not have been able to come together so quickly and smoothly. Every section working within our “Public Sphere Writing” Wikipedia article had to borrow information from other scholarly sources in order to create new discourse that fit the guidelines of Wikipedia.
Since anyone with Internet access can enter into Wikipedia and edit anything they wish to, Wikipedia provides its users with a set of guidelines to follow in order to maintain order. These guidelines are very helpful in creating an article for Wikipedia. On a page titled “Wikipedia: List of guidelines,” a list of important guidelines are provided. These guidelines enable Wikipedia to suggest to its users how to delete, how to edit, how to title articles, how to behave, etc. By following these guidelines and providing content through the use of intertextuality I was able to contribute to the Wikipedia community and further my role as a true Wikipedian.
Although collaborating with such a large community was a difficult task, another task that proved to be just as difficult was my individual work making sure sources were provided for each substantiating claim. The reason this task became so complex was because of the size of the article and the amount of sources and information provided. The amount of information on our “Public Sphere Writing” Wikipedia article is due to the fact that we have intertextually provided a vast amount of accumulated sources from throughout the semester and from other Editing, Writing, and Media courses at Florida State University. This ties back into D’Angelo and his discussion of different modes of intertextuality: “The fifth mode of intertextuality is pastiche. The American Heritage Dictionary defines pastiche as ‘a word or style produced by borrowing fragments, ingredients, or motifs from various sources’” (D’Angelo 39/40). By borrowing fragments from so many sources, our Wikipedia class article expanded into a rather large space. However, having a surplus of information isn’t always a bad thing, as long as all of the information provided is necessary and has sources to back up any claims that are made.
Ultimately, being a part of this task was a lot of hard work, consisting of piling through numerous sources and making everyone’s sections flow well together. Even though the work was hard, it definitely left me with the rewarding feeling of accomplishment. My class now has an article that is self-published within the realm of Wikipedia. Putting together our “Public Sphere Writing” article required a lot of collaboration and a lot of intertextuality. As I mentioned in a previous post, Wikipedia is defined by collaboration and intertextuality, and I know that even more so now, having complete this assignment. Now that this collaborative project has arrived at completion, I have the urge to go back into Wikipedia’s “stub categories” or “articles to be expanded” to do some even more collaborative editing. This may be the beginning of stages of becoming a Wikipediholic.