Wikipedia Talk: Prostitution in Canada

With the famous Prostitution case (Bedford v. Canada) coming to the Supreme Court of Canada June 13, 2013 I thought it would be interesting to do a Wikipedia search “Prostitution in Canada”. Wikipedia is a very popular website. It is becoming increasingly used as the first and sometimes only stop for online encyclopedic information (Royal and Kapila, 2009,138). However, the credibility of Wikipedia is often criticized. Wikipedia articles are completed by multiple contributors with no overarching “supervisory role” (Jensen, 2012,1181). Some may see this as a problem and contributes to lack of validity in the work. However, every statement ought to be based on published reliable sources (Jensen, 2012,1177). Also, does the fact that the posts are eventually checked and unwarranted comments are removed, make it more credible? I think Wikipedia is a factual source.

An interesting part of Wikipedia pages is the “talk page”. This is evidence of Wikipedia’s collaborative nature, “where anyone can comment on or complain about the article” (Jensen, 2012,1177). Considering Prostitution is a very controversial subject and there are many viewpoints it would be interesting to see the discussion on this topic Prostitution in Canada had some comments in the talk page by various authors. I found this particularly interesting. The fact that there is a page where people can voice concerns both good and bad makes it seem quite democratic. I think concerns with Wikipedia draw on the fact that page content is based on bias or viewpoints of the authors. In turn, the talk page is a good way to address the bias and perhaps change the posts if necessary. I found it interesting how different authors could discuss their concerns with information on the page (For example, the legality of Prostitution). In Canada, the legality of Prostitution is quite confusing since overall Prostitution is legal, however some activities surrounding Prostitution are illegal.  The talk page is great for showing where information was found (i.e. Criminal Code of Canada).

Another area of discussion I found interesting on the talk page was “Etiquette”. There were concerns over deleting paragraphs on the Wikipedia page without proper discussion. I find this very democratic. If Wikipedia is a collaborative effort, who is to have the say of deletion? However, the author who deleted the paragraph suggested he did so since the content was highly speculative in nature. There is much back and forth discussion, which is both critical in nature and also very nice. For example one author commented, “Your latest edits are definitely an improvement. Keep up the good work!” I think it is nice for people to dedicate their time on Wikipedia to write informative posts. Also, that they are having meaningful discussion regarding the posts is great.

The last interesting debate on the talk page was surrounding trafficking. I particularly liked one comment “There seems to be an attempt on Wikipedia generally to turn every page on prostitution into a discussion on the evils of trafficking as if the two were synonymous”. In turn suggesting that the trafficking section was much longer than the main page and most content should be removed. To someone reading this article prior to edits and knowing nothing about Prostitution in Canada could in turn have biased knowledge on the subject. The fact that this bias was acknowledged allows for the page to be more balanced and credible. I believe the talk page to be very knowledge based and the discussion from authors was interesting. The tensions on the page were acknowledged properly and concerns were addressed. Not one author made a personally biased remark on the talk page nor discussed any particular credentials. Therefore, “Prostitution in Canada” talk page was collaborative in nature, which made for a credible Wikipedia page.

A criticism of Wikipedia is that it reflects the viewpoints, interests, and prominences of the people who use it (Royal & Kapila, 2009,138). However, I think I like having people who care about a subject to write on a subject. The page regarding Prostitution in Canada from an outsider was evidence based. There were 78 references and many being from Government sources and published journal articles.

Users of Wikipedia dedicate their time and energy to developing and sustaining a “vast array of networked products and services” such as collections of informative posts on topics (Dijk & Nieborg, 2009,860). These people ought to be taken seriously. If Internet users were to look at talk pages, perhaps the Wikipedia pages would be more credible, since people would see how much time and effort goes into these pages. Yes, there will always be room for silly or unnecessary comments, however majority of information is well thought and conversed.


Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182

Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.

Van Dijk, J. & Nieborg, D. (2009). Wikinomics and its discontents: a critical analysis of Web 2.0 business manifestos. New Media & Society. 11, 5. pp 855-874.

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Wikipedia- Summative

      After reading this week comments on my initial blog post, I noticed that my peers had similar views as me. However, it seems that I may be the only one that thinks Encyclopedias are not “obsolete”. I feel as though people old and young still enjoy the hands on books to gather information. I am not suggesting that Encyclopedias are more reliable than Wikipedia. However, I believe that both will exist for a bit more time!

     As for making Wikipedia as a more “reliable” source, I think it is up to the internet consumers do decide what is reliable to them. I think consumers of new media have to understand what they are reading on Wikipedia, and decide whether they take it as valid or not. It is interesting to note the War of 1812 article, since in both new media (Wikipedia) and in “real life” people have different analysis of what the outcome of the war was. Thus, I still believe Wikipedia is a lot like the non-internet world or print media. People will write what interests them or the masses.

     Lastly, I think Wikipedia is not going anywhere. The concept of crowdsourcing is quite fascinating. I really like the fact that multiple groups of diverse people can edit something online. I think this brings forth more opinions and views. However, whether these views or opinions are credible or valid is the real question at hand. In the end, as mentioned, this is why Internet consumers ought to realize the mediums they are accessing the information from and question validity everywhere.




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Online Validity

     This weeks readings were quite interesting. Ever since High School, I remembered teachers always saying Wikipedia was not a reliable source and that students could not use it for schoolwork. This was something I brought with to me in University as well. I also had university professors suggest Wikipedia was not good, and that scholarly sources were best. I definitely agree with this. However, in my fourth year, I had a great political science professor (for Comparative Mass Media) whom actually said Wikipedia was reliable and that we were able to use it for our research papers. I than began to question Wikipedia, and after realized that it was quite reliable. I certainly find myself using Wikipedia as a good starting source for schoolwork as well as just personal use. After reading Royal and Kapila (2009) it was interesting to note that a recent study comparing the accuracy of science entries, it was concluded that Wikipedia’s level of accuracy is close to that of Encyclopedia Britannica (Giles, 2005) (Royal & Kapila, 2009,139).

      I found the article “Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812” quite interesting and the debate over who won the war of 1812. Interestingly, the War of 1812, “makes everybody happy, because everybody interprets it differently” (Jensen, 2012, 1178). Furthermore, this is perhaps the issue with Wikipedia. The information posted on Wikipedia is based on who is writing it and can be biased. Some pages attract larger numbers of writers such as military and war, however there is a smaller base of support for other issues  (Jensen, 2012, 1182). It reflects the viewpoints, interests, and prominences of the people who use it (Royal & Kapila, 2009,138). I think this is somewhat relevant to many aspects of life. In print literature there will be more books on a particularly more common issue or interest in society. Thus, why would it be different on the online community? New media allows “small communities” to form and spread news to other people who are interested (Brown and Duguid, 1996). However, “crowdsourcing” is also interesting when so many online, mainly anonymous people can edit one article on Wikipedia. I think it is great that people dedicate their time to writing on Wikipedia. However, as Jensen (2012) noted there is also the chance of people editing articles “just for fun”. With informal, uneducated comments, it does allow readers to question validity. However these comments are removed, so does this not make it resourceful and valued information?

     Lastly, as Wikipedia continues to grow and become accessed as a news source for so many around the world, will print sources such as Encyclopedias “die”? In turn, I believe that print sources will still remain relevant even in an Internet era. There still remains significance of documents in everyday life. Indeed, older generations enjoy print more than younger ones. However, even young generations ought to use print documents and some enjoy reading newspapers. As Brown and Duguird (2006) note “People still read hardback books, even though they will cost one-third as much in paperback a year later. And people still go to watch movies in first-run houses, though they could rent the video at half the price the following year” . This is an important note. However, convenience has taken over in many aspects of life. Therefore, Wikipedia articles are much more convenient than running to the library to read scholarly books on the same topic. In the end, consumers of new media we ought to question reliability of everything we read online to be educated and informed.



Brown, J. S. & P. Duguid. (1996). The Social Life of DocumentsFirst Monday. 1, 1.

Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182

Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.

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Summative Blog Post

After reading my classmates blog posts and comments it seems we all use social media sites for similar reasons. Facebook is a good medium to talk with people who are not in close distance to you. For example like family overseas. Facebook is great for keeping in touch with friends and family but also to learn new things about each other. However, I believe there is still a different type of “connection” in person that cannot be achieved online. Turkle’s  “artificial conversation” is somewhat true. However, meaningful conversation can be met over the Internet. How about married couples that are so far apart and regularly keep in touch this way? If people have a special bond already than a social media site will not change that. I am not sure if Turkle would say communicating with my family online is artificial, because we already have a bond beyond the Internet. However, I would say after three years of only communication online, it is very different to see someone face-to-face and think it will all be the same as it was online.

Lastly, I agree with a classmate who said they find Twitter to maintain more anonymous. Perhaps it is the lack of personal information you must share. I also find myself retweeting tweets if they are similar to what I would say but perhaps am to lazy to write my own. Social media sites are great for sharing others posts. In the end, social media sites are great tools for so many things people cannot otherwise do in person. However, we are all social beings and should continue to have face-to face communication!

Privacy on the Internet?

COMM 2F00 Module 2

     I enjoy using social media sites as well as the Internet as a whole. Similar, to many people, I cannot see my life without the Internet. I use various social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest. Perhaps it is an oxymoron, but I prefer to stay somewhat private on the Internet. I prefer to keep Facebook more private than other websites. I enjoy sharing photos on Facebook so that friends and family can see what I am up to. I agree with Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe (2007) whom suggest that Facebook is used to maintain “existing offline relationships or solidify offline connections”, as opposed to meeting new people (Boyd & Ellison, 222). I use Facebook to connect with old friends while also keeping in touch with new ones. I believe Facebook is a good tool to maintain relationships with people you may not see very often. For example, cousins in Italy! Although, I have control over who views my content on Facebook I am still very reserved with what I would post. I feel I need to remain appropriate while also not exposing my personal life to the public (I also have my mom on Facebook). However, I am not even sure if “personal” is the same as it used to be. Is sharing on Facebook who your sister is personal? However, with this current private-public-personal dichotomy it is very interesting people still feel they can remain private online. “Online services offer their users the opportunity to be known by several different names” (Turkell, 1999,643). Often, when I am applying for jobs I will change my Facebook name so I cannot be searched so easily. This is one way to keep semi-anonymous while being in such a public domain.

    I also frequently use twitter. My tweets on twitter are blocked and only my followers can see. However, I do post a lot of tweets and allow my followers to see my semi-personal life in 140 characters or less in the public realm. Turkell (2012) argues that it is appealing for users to have Facebook pages or Twitter feeds when “no one is listening”. Often, I feel like I can post tweets on Twitter with the personal satisfaction that my message will be reached by someone. Oddly, it allows me to feel connected when there is no one to talk to, or no one is listening.

     Furthermore, I do believe social media allows us to present the self we want to be, in which we can edit and delete (Turkle, 2012). I have deleted posts or pictures from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in which did not portray my current self or perhaps the self I wanted to represent at the time. 

     Lastly, with so many people in modern society relying on the Internet for news, texting for conversation and tweeting as therapy, I believe privacy is necessary. Teaching people at a younger age about privacy on the Internet is so crucial today. Furthermore, I agree with Turkle (2012) who suggests making spaces (like the kitchen) to be alone, and making room for solitude! We are taking for granted this “alone together” time (Turkle, 2012). I know, in my own life I am trying to cut back from this “alone together” even if it means not texting, tweeting and so on in the passenger seat of a car. Life is short, and technology should not control our lives, we ought to embrace the moments spent with others!


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Boyd, Dannah & Nicole B. Ellison “Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship”  danah m. boyd Nicole B. Ellison Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 210–230, October 2007

Turkle, Sherry. “Cyberspace and Identity” Contemporary Sociology Vol. 28, No. 6 (Nov., 1999), pp. 643-648

Turkle, Sherry. “The Flight From Conversation”. New York Times Sunday Review. April 21, 2012

Turkle, Sherry. “Places we don’t want to go” at TED2012


Women and Politics



Hello, I am Katie Lamanna and this is my first blog ever!

I am in my final year at Brock University in Political Science with a Sociology minor. I have chosen to take New Media Literacy as an elective, the last class ever at Brock! I have just moved back home from St.Catharines after four awesome years!

My interests include Canadian politics, gender issues, issues in developing countries, social justice, and animal rights, to name a few. I also love to travel and cook! I find myself cooking more than travelling these days!

Considering, my major is politics I have chosen to focus my blog around that. Furthermore, I will focus on political justice as well as social issues around the world with a focus on women. Therefore, I have decided to focus on women and politics.

The purpose of this blog will be to explore women’s issues from a political standpoint. I am hoping to discuss relevant issues that may appear in the news. My topics may include women and politics in developed and developing countries, gendered public policy. More specifically, some issues may be prostitution laws, migrant workers, AIDS and violence against women. I am hoping to address issues that are controversial and thought provoking!

I hope you enjoy my blog!

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