Super Smash Bros. Wikipedia

One of the first games I played nonstop as a child was Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. Since the initial release of this Nintendo fighting game, Super Smash Bros. has become an international sensation with a wide, devoted fan base.

The Wikipedia Super Smash Bros. page has been classified as a “good article” that is “semi-protected,” as depicted by the screenshot below:

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 7.03.19 PM

This status as “semi-protected” prohibits “edits from unregistered users (IP addresses), as well as edits from any account that is not autoconfirmed (is at least four days old and has at least ten edits to Wikipedia) or confirmed” (Wikipedia). So, editing is not necessarily open to all. A reputation is needed on Wikipedia before edits can be made to the semi-protected page.

As the series has been around for well over a decade, and games are only released every 5 years or so, new information isn’t developing day-by-day or even year-by-year. My guess is that, while collective intelligence can collect novel points of view from numerous people, the Super Smash Bros. Wikipedia page doesn’t really need much help with editing. With this particular topic, it’s fairly easy to be comprehensive, as only 5 games total have been released for the series, and they follow similar game mechanics and styles. Also, a look at the edit history for the page shows that, while edits occur frequently, they normally deal with minor edits like character names or simple descriptions.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 7.22.54 PM

Thus, I conclude that the editors of this page have extensive knowledge of the series and there isn’t a need for a lot of editors to contribute to the page often. There are a lot of distinct editors and edits made to the page, but most of the edits I saw were very minor. Below are some statistics for the Super Smash Bros. Wikipedia page:

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 7.28.45 PM

As we can see, there are nearly 2,000 distinct authors. This may seem like a high number, but this page has been around for around a decade.

The content of the page features categories like history, gameplay, music, and development. These topics are very straightforward in the case of Super Smash Bros., and collective intelligence functions more as a system of proofreading content rather than contributing new points of view or opinions.

Four “skills” that Jenkins describes in his report capture the essence of the Super Smash Bros. Wikipedia page: collective intelligence (“the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others towards a common goal”), judgement (“the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information source”), networking (“the ability to search for, synthesize and disseminate information”), and negotiation (“the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative sets of norms”) (Jenkins). Collective intelligence is necessary to accurately portray the history, gameplay, mechanics, reception, and development of the game as a whole. Especially for a short period of time when a new game is released, effective collective intelligence is needed to quickly update the page with accurate and useful information. Both networking and judgement are needed to decide what information is important enough to include on the page; I feel that this Wikipedia page does an excellent job of “trimming the fat” and includes only the most relevant information. Lastly, negotiation is needed solve any arguments that may arise while editing the page; however, I noticed there was significantly less negotiation needed on major topics in terms of content.

I couldn’t locate the external tools found on other Wikipedia pages for analyzing some statistics and user contributions, as shown below by the screenshot:

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 6.52.45 PM

I was able to analyze the page views, which haven’t changed much over the past 90 days:

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 6.54.31 PM

This is expected, as the newest iterations of the game have been released for months now, and not much news regarding the series has come out in the past couple of months. I assume this page is mainly for people who don’t know much about the series, or are looking for specific dates or game descriptions that may be useful.

Overall, the Super Smash Bros. Wikipedia page provides a thorough yet concise overview of the series. Information found on the page can be useful to both prospective and seasoned players. The use of collective intelligence differs a bit on this page when compared to other popular topics; major edits and contributions only appear near the time of the release of a new iteration. However, the use of collective intelligence has helped create an accurate, unbiased overview of one of the most popular fighting games of all time.

Sources:
Jenkins, Henry. “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About The New Media Literacies (Parts One and Two).” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. WordPress. 26-27 June 2007. Web. 8 March 2015.

“Super Smash Bros.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Mar. 2015.
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