Olympic Wikipedia Comparison

Being an accidental sports historian, I decided to do my Wikipedia comparison on three pages dedicated to the Olympic Games. To show how the world’s view of these games has changed over time, I am comparing three very memorable games: Germany 1936, Los Angeles 1984, and this year’s games in Pyeongchang.

All three talk pages are relatively short; however what surprised me is that the newest Olympic Games, 2018 Pyeongchang, had the longest paged. I assumed that since the other two were older, there would be more debate over different aspects of the games and the page. Because these games are so new, the main debate that occurs about the layout of the page is who is and who isn’t competing. Many comments from November 2017 asked to include a table that gave the number of athletes competing per country. As many commenters replied, the problem with that is until the games begin in February, that number of athletes could constantly change as more qualify and in the worst case get injured and must drop out. What there is very little discussion of is the Russia ban which in the regular media is very much a hot topic. However the other media hot topic, the United Korea Team, has a lot of comments on this Wikipedia page. The main question that kept going back and forth was if the IOC had legitimately said the two countries would compete under the same flag, or if it was just North and South Korea that agreed to this.

On the Wikipedia pages for both the 1936 Germany Games and the 1984 Los Angeles Games, the majority of the conversation had to do with changing external hyperlinks and better citing sources. Specifically, one commenter that posted in 2007 stated that they were adding a reference section to the 1984 Los Angeles Games because in their words “Shouldn’t more of this article be properly sourced?” (User: NYDCSP) After going back through the comments I found the earliest one was from 2004. This shows that it took three years before someone thought it was a good idea to cite anything on the page. Issues like this are why most teachers today don’t let their students use Wikipedia as an actual source. If things are not cited correctly, how do you know that the information you are getting is accurate?

Adding to the issue of citing sources, using hyperlinks within an article can be helpful for readers to see where you are getting your information, or how to learn more about things that you don’t have the article length to discuss. However, just like with proper citations, if your hyperlinks don’t go to anything of value to a researcher then the researcher is less likely to believe or use anything in your article. For the page for the 1936 Germany Games, the majority of the talk page is one or two commenters going through and changing all the hyperlinks to websites that they believe are more accurate. These website are different digital archives and other scholarly sites, rather than just the usual fan pages about the games.

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