Materials for in-class Wikipedia discussion of the introductions from English-language articles on ISIS, ranging from April 2018 back to the earliest edition on Wikipedia from January of 2007.

Sample Discussion Questions

These sample discussion questions range from general questions you might ask of any Wikipedia-centered discussion of materials to those dealing with reading comprehension and historical inquiry into the materials as primary sources. The goal is to engage the students’ ability to challenge their preconceived notions and exercise critical thinking.

  1. Wikipedia launched in 2001 and first crossed the threshold of one million unique articles (in English language) in 2006. What does it mean if the earliest edition of this article was published in January of 2007?
  2. Is this article written with a particular audience in mind?
  3. Why has this article been edited so many times?
  4. What does it mean that nearly half of the edits were made by only 10% of the editors?
  5. When was this organization founded? What are some possible reasons for this basic question receiving different answers in different years?
  6. What are the geographic limits of this organization? How has this changed over time?
  7. What is the mission or goal of this organization? Has this changed over time?
  8. Generally speaking, as time moves forward, this organization has gotten considerably older (meaning, its date of establishment has been pushed further and further back). Are there other organizations like this? Can we draw any conclusions (general or specific to this organization) from this trend?
  9. Why is the article nearly identical from one year to another, and then radically different?
  10. Why is the 2015 edition so much longer than those from 2017 and 2018?
  11. What was added between 2017 and 2018? What was its significance to Wikipedia’s English-language audience?

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Whole Packet (link, 11-page PDF)

Individual Articles as stand-alone PDF files:

Basic Data on ISIL/ISIS article (April 2018)

13,700 Total Edits; 2,489 Editors
Viewed 564,000 times in last two months
520 Automated Edits
First Edit: 649 characters
Last Edit: 53 characters
Largest Addition: 61,543 characters
Largest Deletion: 340,429 characters
Average Time Between Edits: 0.3 days
Average Edits per user: 5.5
Average edits per day: 4.2
40% of edits made by top 10% of editors
6,683 Wikipedia links to this page; 97 redirects
This page links to 831 Wikipedia articles
Word count: 18,500 words in 79 sections with 730 unique references
Top editor has edited 19% of article, wrote 5% of it
#4 editor has edited 3.6% of article, wrote 13% of it