Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My flirtation with Wikipedia

While I have been keeping very busy, and am unlikely to post anything substantial for some time, I thought, I would provide link to my Wikipedia user page (click) that I had developed after lot of effort without any real knowledge of HTML. Of course back then, I had been able to develop it only by analyzing a lot of others' users pages, and tweaking them through trial and error.

Also, almost unknown to many of you, I had been a very avid contributor (click) to Wikipedia articles. But had to tear away myself from that web site, especially editing it, only since it was so very addictive and hampering my studies (not unlike blogging ;) ).

There is an article I had created and brought to its current status almost entirely on my own, including making several diagrams. On searching for 'polyclonal response' on major search engines, that article is the first result one gets. Here (click). It enjoys the status of a 'Good article' on Wikipedia, which means by quality and reliability as judged by a stringent peer review, it is 1 among every 403 articles.

Also, I had singlehandedly created an article on a very important topic called 'lymph', which a year back used to get almost 700 to 1000 hits in a day, or more! Same with articles on 'B cell' and 'lymphatic system', to which I had made significant contributions.

It has been more than a year I have made any significant edits to Wikipedia, and was feeling nostalgic. And not to forget, once a Wikipedian is always a Wikipedian. :) So, I wanted to share these things with a few readers who visit my blog. Somehow though contributing to Wikipedia has not brought me any glory or provided with career boost, I feel very content to have added something to the World's knowledge-base. I have used Wikipedia extensively, and have always felt deeply indebted to those anonymous contributors who have been enriching my life through their knowledge and writings, with no material rewards in return, except for the satisfaction of sharing their knowledge systematically.

If any of you feel you are an expert/well read person in anything under the Sun (and beyond), please do share your knowledge through Wikipedia. :)


  1. Phew!!!
    Its really thoughtful of you to have used the web in a constructive way. The pictures are nice; I can say nice because I am well beyond understanding biological and medical terms.

    But I got to know the effort it takes to do these things. Kudos to you!

  2. Arrey waah!
    That article seemed really detailed (I say seemed because I'm too lazy to read the polyclonal response article) and reallyyy good.
    Umm, I don't really think I'm that much of an expert in anything, except probably Harry Potter. ;) And Twilight.
    And well, I really doubt anybody would want to read any of these books through Wikipedia.
    Also, I too refer to Wikipedia for everything and it IS the awesomest website ever created. Same with youtube...without the contributions of other people, it wouldn't be anything.

  3. So this brain of yours doesn't work overtime for nothing :)

    Good work Ketan.

    I may be a jack of all but a King of none so contributing to Wikipedia with my limited knowledge is not such a great thing.

    But you do keep it up man.

  4. Hi Ketan..
    Yeah ..this is truly worth being appreciated..I mean it. Wiki has come to my rescue numerous times but I never had the patience to contribute something back..This is here I admire you for the spirit and more importantly your willingness to share knowledge. Excellent !

    Btw..nice blog here :) Following you.

  5. I didn't know 'users' could have such a detailed page. Interesting.

    Also didn't know Wikipedia is looking to collect $7.5M. Actually didn't even know they ask for/take donations.

    Anyway good job. I don't think I'd ever write something up there...but if I ever need to I now know whom to ask how I should go about it hehe

  6. Wow! Man, I was not aware that we could build our page on Wikipedia. And your contribution to it, I should say, is awesome.

  7. @ Insignia:


    Actually, a typical Wikipedia 'good article' or 'featured article' has to be such that it could be understood by a typical tenth grade student! Of course, provided that that tenth class-student would click on all the links provided!

    So possibly, that article has lost out on that count.

    But if you find time, (which you're unlikely to find! ;) ), skip the intro but start from the first paragraph below the table of contents. That way there is some hope that you might understand. But of course, it will still take a lot of persistence for you to ever be able to understand that article in entirety. Honestly because, it falls more in the domain of molecular biology, and not so much medicine, which I can safely tell, would be and is found difficult to understand by most of medicos! ;) So it's alright if you don't try reading it.


    @ Srishti:

    I guess, Wikipedia's article on Harry Potter must so detailed already that I doubt if you would be able to add anything substantial there!

    Well personally speaking, YouTube might be a great site for entertainment, but for extensive detailed info on any topic, almost nothing can currently rival Wikipedia. But I must add, I've been very impressed by Encyclopaedia Britannica. If you get a chance, please do read its article titled 'epistemology'. You'll definitely find it most interesting, and you might start seeing your own life from a one perspective! :) Thanks!

  8. @ WDM:

    Thanks! But you know, the very same article represents a great weakness of mine, viz., lack of goal-oriented focus. I must have spent around one month on writing that article and getting it passed as a 'good article'. And precisely in that time all my competitors were busy studying for pg entrance exams! But once I get a seat, I would be proud of my work with much lesser guilt! :)

    @ Rakesh:


    And if you're serious about contributing to Wikipedia, I think you've a great opportunity to contribute.

    I do not know much about your academic qualifications apart from the fact that you're a chartered accountant. So you could contribute to taxation laws and structure in UAE.

    Also, from our interaction I could make out that you could do a lot of good to articles on Bollywood movies, especially the obscure ones. Your contribution need not extend only to actually adding text, but even simple removal of typos, or removing unsubstantiated info could help a lot.

    But of course, all this assuming you find time and inclination to do all that! And initially, you might find learning Wikipedia's typical html a bit daunting. But once you learn that itself becomes even more fun! BTW, I just learned from Wikipedia that over 42% population of Dubai is composed of Indians!!!

    @ Rohit:

    Thanks for following and the praise! Hope, you too find the inspiration to contribute to Wikipedia! :)

  9. @ Deepali:

    Nice to see you after so long! :) It was nice to see you, and not 'cuz it was after long! ;)

    Anyway, yes Wikipedia does very much require donations! It is the fifth most visited web sites on the internet. And for almost all generic search terms, it is the very first search result on all major search engines!

    In fact, this (click) should not surprise you!

    So of course, they need very large servers. Also, Wikipedia expands at a tremendous rate. According to some GDFL licensing they used to follow, they have to preserve every single edit ever made to all the articles, and also conserve the corresponding versions with a permalink! They've to attribute every single edit to the corresponding author! Phew! Now do you understand the enormity of Wikipedia?

    And of course, not to forget that around 500 new articles get created every day!

    And seriously, if you ever feel like doing anything for Wikipedia, you could always start with simple copyediting or simplifying the language of few articles, etc. You might be able to add something to history of advertising in India! Thanks for dropping by!

    @ Darshan:

    Yes, you could have a page by your own name! For that you need to be really famous or need to be a Wikipedia member!

    Thanks for the compliment!


Well-articulated disagreement would be a very good indicator that I was understood, and would be appreciated more than perfunctory agreement or praise. But of course, you could agree and praise...

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