Super Wikipedia Brothers – Collective Intelligence in Melee’s Wiki

Wikipedia, an ever changing and updating online encyclopedia, is perhaps one of the internet’s most important resources. Oftentimes when you’re curious about a topic and you decide to “Google” it, the first result for that topic is almost always a link to its Wikipedia page. Wikipedia is often the topic of scrutiny by many teachers and professors who claim that the information found on the site is often false because literally anyone has the ability to edit these pages. However Henry Jenkins best describes the idea of Wikipedia as “collective intelligence,” which he defines as, “the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal” (Jenkins, What Wikipedia…Part 1). What Jenkins means by this is that, contrary to what many teachers believe, most “Wikipedians” edit and contribute to the site because they are actively sharing and acquiring new knowledge.

For the purpose of this assignment, I decided to research the Wikipedia page for Super Smash Bros. Melee, a popular fighting game on the Nintendo GameCube made by HAL Laboratories. The contents of the article include a brief summary of the idea of the game, which is a unique 3D beat-em-up style figher starring many of Nintendo’s most popular characters. The article then details most aspects of the game including the basic idea of gameplay, characters,stages, music, critical and commercial reception, and perhaps most importantly (in my interests) the legacy Melee created with its sequels and competitive scene.

While reading the page, it was apparent the Wikipedians tried to touch on every aspect of the game by giving short summaries or briefly describing important events in the history of Melee. If the reader wanted to learn more specifics, the editors linked to the Wikipedia pages devoted to those specific topics. In the example below, the editors decided it would be better to link to the article detailing each character in the game instead of cluttering the screen with stats only hardcore players would care about.

Example of how the editors of Melee's article included links to more in depth articles

Example of how the editors of Melee’s article included links to more in depth articles

No information seems to be incorrect, usually taking a scholarly and informative tone. Most of the citations used throughout the article are either from official statements made by Nintendo or from their website and also reliable and respected game reporters like IGN. Many of the more bold claims have more than two citations. There are no boxed warnings anywhere on the page and is categorized as a featured page by Wikipedia.

Both of these icons are at the top of the page

Both of these icons are at the top of the page

It’s evident by looking at the page history that Wikipedia provides that today, the majority of the Wikipedians and readers are interested in competitive Melee. Near the release of the game, most of the edits were made about in game content. As Melee became more competitive based (starting in 2006, otherwise regarded as the birth of competitive Melee), editors started to focus on updating the current accepted unbiased beliefs of a majority of competitive players

List of edits made at the start of the game's lifespan

List of edits made at the start of the game’s lifespan

The most current edits (more competitive/tournament based).

The most current edits (more competitive/tournament based).

Obviously, the community of Wikipedians that try to keep Melee’s page as factual, unbiased, and informative as possible. As Melee’s competitive history and influence expands, so does the Wikipedia page. The community of editors embody the idea of collective intelligence by condensing information that could be accessible to anyone, while providing options for people who want to go more in depth with Melee.

Source:

Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About the New Media Literacies (Part One and Two).” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. 26-27 Jun. 2007. Web.

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