As I mentioned earlier, the Wikipedia peer reviewer was incredibly helpful. Their editing experience and familiarity with Wikipedia really shows in their feedback. My classmate peer-review, on the other hand, was a bit wanting. I think I just wanted it to be more critical so that I could see which parts of my article were weak and needed improving. I know that criticizing someone else’s work can be uncomfortable, that’s why I always make an effort to point out someone’s strengths and let them know “you’re doing a great job!” even perhaps when they aren’t. Out of curiosity, I recently went back to my sandbox and looked at my peer review comments and saw that I’d received more feedback. This more recent feedback was much more critical, and it specifically took examples from my article that needed citations added. My first instinct was, “how dare this person?!” but after that sentiment faded, I realized this is the critical feedback I wanted and needed. I only wished that I had received it sooner!
Writing for Wikipedia is different than writing an essay in the social aspect. All writing is a social activity, since we never really just write for ourselves. But in writing for Wikipedia, there is a potentially world-wide audience, which is something that is uncommon in standard essay writing. Typically, for an essay, the audience is the instructor, maybe a classmate, maybe a teacher’s assistant, and that’s usually it. With Wikipedia, we have the instructor, our classmates, the Wikipedia staff/reviewer assigned to our class, then beyond that, anyone who might read our article, either intentionally or by stumbling onto our page. Having a potentially global audience is a daunting thought, so I feel like there is some added pressure in writing for Wikipedia to make sure the article lives up to the standards that people expect from Wikipedia. Writing for Wikipedia is much more involved and tactile. Writing is done in short bursts, and added piecemeal to a live page, which makes it a much more methodical, systematic approach than the usual approach I take to writing essays. In all, I found Wikipedia writing to be more fun, because I felt sort of like a journalist.
The only thing I can think to improve is perhaps assigning peer reviewers to certain pages, rather than giving students too much freedom to choose which article they want to review. I think that assigning at least 2 reviewers to each article will ensure that a diversity of opinions and criticisms are added to every student’s sandbox. This will give students 2 sets of peer review comments from classmates, plus the comments that students can receive from the Wikipedia reviewers. Otherwise, I can’t make any other suggestions for improvement.