Grants:IdeaLab/Best practices for using Wikipedia as a legal resource

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Best practices for using Wikipedia as a legal resource
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Best practices for using Wikipedia ought to be established to guide legal advocates in their thought.
created on: 14:00, 12 May 2014

Project idea edit

What is the problem you're trying to solve? edit

Lawyers use Wikipedia in various ways. They will continue to do so in the future, irrespective of whether they should. The profession needs its own best practices for doing this. Historically, there has been a problem of shame associated with Wikipedia and the fact that lawyers use it has been ignored as being too problematic to discuss.

At this point there is enough precedent to suggest that some minimal amount of research ought to be done and some best practices for the legal professionals ought to be established to minimize harm and to lower barriers of entry for legal professionals to contribute thought and time to Wikipedia.

What is your solution? edit

  • Do research to determine when Wikipedia has been cited in legal cases and how it has been cited. Perhaps a legal equivalent of this paper in medicine could be created:
Bould, M. D.; Hladkowicz, E. S.; Pigford, A.-A. E.; Ufholz, L.-A.; Postonogova, T.; Shin, E.; Boet, S. (2014). "References that anyone can edit: review of Wikipedia citations in peer reviewed health science literature". BMJ 348 (mar05 4): g1585–g1585. ISSN 1756-1833. doi:10.1136/bmj.g1585. 
This has already been started at en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia as a court source
  • Based on the paper, draft minimal best practices for introducing information from Wikipedia into legal settings
  • Disseminate notice of those practices on Wikipedia
  • Use those best practices as an outreach and recruitment tool which would make it easier for those in the legal profession to discussion Wikipedia amongst themselves and encourage each other to respond to Wikipedia in any way the profession sees fit

Project goals edit

The ultimate goal of this project is to provide enough information for legal professionals to be able to read enough to understand the implications of using Wikipedia in their work.

A secondary goal would be determining how much legal professionals already use Wikipedia, so that the implications of what is already happening may be understood.

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