Wikipedia Module Reflection

Over the course of this module, I became much more familiar with Wikipedia.  I started off slowly, learning how to edit existing articles after creating an account.  This allowed me to learn how to cite sources using the website (a wonderfully easy and automatic process) and link phrases to existing Wikipedia articles.  The contributions I made to two existing pages remain today.

Then, mostly using Wikipedia’s articles that covered creating/formatting new pages, I began the trial-and-error process of learning to create a new article.  My first article was taken down within a few hours, even after contesting the proposed deletion.  But the experience made me more familiar with Wikipedia standards.  I learned the mechanical process of creating an article, in addition to utilizing the talk page to discuss articles.  These experiences helped guide another group member to form a Wikipedia page on William M. Anderson, Jr.  I helped establish and edit the article, addressing some concerns brought up on the talk page.  This article is still available, with no warnings or notices, over twenty-four hours later.

Ultimately the process familiarized me with the issues many people have with Wikipedia.  I had heard that it is notoriously difficult to create a new page, and I soon learned for myself that this is the case.  I realized I was limited by the information I had available to me.  After all, I could only create pages for people I was at least somewhat familiar with.  In addition, I also faced the more well-known difficulties of trying to meet Wikipedia’s standards.  Even assuredly notable people can be difficult to create articles for.  However, as our group learned, it is not impossible.  I am very proud of our success in creating a new page despite the barriers and hurdles placed in front of us.  Now that I’ve learned how to work with Wikipedia, I will probably continue to edit and contribute to any articles I come across that have inaccurate or outdated information, thus adding to one of the most widely used sources of information on the Internet.  In this way, I found the module to be extremely practical, as I will probably continue to use these skills in the future.

Wikipedia Module Progress Update

After relaying the story of my failed Wikipedia article creation, one of my group members discovered that William M. Anderson, Jr. (the same Anderson of the Anderson Center) didn’t have a Wikipedia article.  Seeing as he was president of the university for over 20 years, we agreed that it could be reasonably argued that he is a notable individual.  After establishing the article, another user communicated with us on the talk page, suggesting that we add some more non-UMW sources to help prove that Anderson is a notable individual.  After adding a few more references, he thanked us for creating the page, and another user reviewed the page and appeared to approve it.  No warnings or notices appear on the page now, and a day later, it seems to have stuck.  Mission accomplished: a Wikipedia page has been successfully created!  It can be viewed at the link below:,_Jr.

Wikipedia Module Progress

My first step was to set up a Wikipedia account and ease myself into the mechanics of editing.  I first added some updates to some biographies, both of which appear to have stuck.

I then decided to up the ante and attempt creating my own Wikipedia article.  I asked a former teacher turned principal for permission, which she graciously granted, and began gathering some research and articles to ensure I could add credible citations.  I then used the Wikipedia articles on creating a new page and formatting to begin creating an article.  The raw input can be seen below.

My third editsBut almost immediately after publishing the article, I received a warning, which stated, “This article may meet Wikipedia’s criteria for speedy deletion as an article about a real person that does not credibly indicate the importance or significance of the subject.”  I contested the speedy deletion and formally argued my point’s regarding my subject’s significance on the talk page, garnering a reply from another user, who asked. “What reliable sources do you have that indicate that these increases and changes are enough to make her notable at a national or global level?”  I then began linking items in my article to established Wikipedia page, added more of my subject’s various awards, and added to my references list.  Alas, to no avail.  The next morning I checked my page and found the following announcement.  “Sorry, this page was recently deleted (within the last 24 hours).  The deletion and move log for the page are provided below for reference.”  Interestingly, the user who deleted my page was not the same user who had been communicating with me on the talk page.

I have heard that creating Wikipedia articles is an arduous task that some feel is rather unfair, and now I have experienced this process myself.




Explaining Neuromancer

Our Digital Archaeology group decided to create a gif set.  Four out of the five members had been a part of the  gif module, and thus had a fair amount of experience making gifs.  The goal was to use repetitive visual imagery in a creative way to express some of the main aspects and themes of the book.  We used clips from existing media to allow viewers to compare these newly presented ideas to familiar ones.  For example, we used cowboy imagery to depict Case, visually describing some of his major character traits (reserved, effective, dark past).  We also used visual imagery to illustrate one of the most famous lines in the book: “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”  Such comparisons and visualizations were also used to depict the novel’s coverage of artificial intelligence, cyberspace, and other concepts.  By using these comparisons and visualizations, hopefully viewers can have a better idea of what topics, ideas, and places are depicted in Neuromancer, by allowing them to reference these aspects to known ones.

This gif set can be found at the following link.

Responding to Neuromancer

Neuromancer provides intriguing insight into the predictions, concerns, and thoughts of a time that is on the cusp of the digital age.  Gibson’s book provides a dark vision of the future world, filled with drugs, casual sexual encounters, and an underworld of technological crime.  It’s interesting to see that Gibson’s imagined digital crime scene is so tangible and dramatic, linked with drugs and heists and danger (as opposed to today’s most unfortunately common identity theft).  While part of this may be simply a way to drive the narrative forward, it may also hint that he and others during this time believed that these various types of crime, despite their differing contexts, would come together in a similar atmosphere.

Another interesting aspect to consider is a historical one.  While geopolitical affairs are not at the heart of story, the few conflicts that are mentioned are telling.  Armitage was supposedly a part of a conflict involving Russia, reminding us that this novel was written in 1984 during the Reagan administration, which briefly heightened the Cold War.

Technological crime is also depicted as very action-oriented.  Case is a sort of cowboy in the digital world, harkening back to a very glamorized portrayal of a man-of-action, often seen in Westerns.  While the heroes of these stories were often flawed, they were depicted as “doers”, even if they participated reluctantly.  It’s interesting to see Gibson bring in these classic narrative elements, and apply them to a novel that helps establish a new genre of cyber punk.

This hints at the relevancy of the novel, even 30+ years later.  Our modern understanding of hacking and cyberspace are very different from how they are portrayed in Neuromancer.  But despite this, many of the themes and tropes Gibson fleshes out continue to be explored by modern sci-fi films and novels.  A reluctant digitally savvy protagonist is seen in popular movies such as The Matrix.  The dangers of artificial intelligence are seen in I, Robot.  This last aspect in particular demonstrates some common concerns across generations.  Could humanity be threatened by its own creations, similar to how Cronus overthrew his father, and was in turn overthrown by Zeus?  What is sentience?  What is free will?  Can they truly be created?  These questions, raised by Gibson, continue to be pondered today.


Animated Gif Module Reflection

Over the course of this module, my main goal was to learn how to make gifs myself in an easy and reliable manner, hopefully allowing me to contribute my own artistic tribute to my favorite fandoms.  My previous experience with gifs was workable, but was a more tedious and involved process.  Using Jim Groom’s BavaTuesdays site as a launching platform, I found giphy as a faster and easier alternative.  I experimented with the site extensively, cranking out 18 gifs over the course of this module (which can be found here).  My early gifs were largely attempts to isolate amusing moments in a repetitive manner.  In contrast, my later ones focused on the more artistic side of giffing (the verb form was named the 2012 Oxford Dictionaries USA word of the year), finding repetitive moments that could be looped in a way that made them appear continuous and fluid.  The practice helped me develop an eye for these moments, and hopefully allowed me to become more adept at making the corresponding gifs.  This makes me feel optimistic about incorporating giffing into my collection of hobbies (in addition to meme-making and video-editing).  By that standard, I would say that I successfully reached my goal of mastering a very efficient way to make gifs.

I also found some interesting background information on the gif (through Jim Groom’s site and reputable sources in the Wikipedia references section) that helped provide a “big-picture” view of its usage as a medium.  I was less intrigued by the origin of the gif, and more interested with how it became popularized in its modern form.  Looking at its incorporation into Tumblr and Facebook, it became clear to me that these online forums democratized the gif.  Easier ways to share creations with the world helped popularize the gif, and popularizing it no doubt contributed to the development of online gif-makers.  As such, almost anyone can successfully make a gif, and most active internet users have at the bare minimum been exposed to gifs (whether or not they recognize their label).  This popularization even culminated in a  major dictionary recognition, solidifying the gif’s popularity in the 21st century.

Overall during the course of this module, I developed a newfound respect for the gif.  It’s much more than a gimmicky device.  By isolating a moment and repeating it continuously, the gif invites us to analyze and appreciate the mechanics of a scene, thus providing a very intriguing artistic aspect to the gif.  These isolations can also be used to provide commentary that better expresses reactions (one of the weaknesses of an online setting) in a funny or even insightful way.  Its democratization as a medium allows the public to mine these moments for themselves, thus individualizing the gif while retaining the ability to share it with a broad audience.

Animated Gif Progress Update

I decided to research some background as to the development of the gif, focusing more on how it has become popularized as opposed to its origin.  I used some more information from Jim Groom’s site, in addition to the references section of the Wikipedia gif article.  I learned that gifs had a popular resurgence in 2007 with the creation of Tumblr, and were named Oxford Dictionary’s USA Word of the Year in 2012.  In 2015, Facebook became gif-compatible (thus allowing me to share my newly-created gifs).  It appeared to me that as gifs became further disseminated within the public culture, it would make sense for their creation to be democratized, through platforms such as giphy.

In addition to gathering this background information, I also focused on polishing my newly developed looping gif creation skills, creating six additional gifs, which can be found at the link below.  This brings my gif total to 18.



Animated Gif Progress

In beginning this module, my main goal was to learn how to better produce gifs.  I’ve enjoyed searching for them online as their own miniature art form, often in the context of fandom.  Recently I’ve become (ever so slightly) obsessed with the show Xena: Warrior Princess.  While I do not have a Twitter account, I often visit AUSXIP GIFing Xena, which publishes gifs from the show a few times a week.  I’ve also used some generic google searches to find other Xena-related gifs.  Often they’re funny and can help punctuate a point in online articles or forums.  They can produce a reaction with words…

Winning…and without.

I’ve had some previous experience with gifs before in the mini version of DS106 that was held at the UMW Summer Enrichment Program.  Working with Jim Groom, we learned to produce gifs using mpeg streamclip and GIMP.  While I was able to successfully create a gif, the process was rather tedious, and I was not familiar with the programs.  In starting this module, I figured that the best place to start would be on Jim Groom’s BavaTuesday’s blog, as he often posts some of his latest work with gifs.  I read his “A Fistful of Gifs article” (, which recommended Giphy as an easier way to make gifs.  So I started experimenting with making gifs with the site.  I originally tried uploading a file directly, but it was too large.  I then attempted uploading an edited file, but the “browser was not supported”.  I changed browsers, but the site still didn’t work.  I then attempted uploading  a file from a YouTube link, which was successful.  The next step was to try creating a gif from the link.  I tried publishing my first attempt, but was told that “something went wrong”.  I tried again, and the second attempt succeeded.

Once I established a working method of creating gifs, I cranked out 10 more in the course of about an hour, focusing on looping gifs and isolating some funny moments.  My next step will be to try to polish my work on looping gifs, and to perhaps enhance my “big picture” view of gifs by learning more about their history.