F1 on Wikipedia

F1 on Wikipedia

What do you think of the quality of Formula 1 articles on Wikipedia?

I’m forever researching different topics to do with F1 and, as with so many online subjects these days, Wikipedia dominates the search results rankings.

But is the information on there any good? Have you edited any of the Wikipedia F1 articles?

There are WikiProjects for Formula 1 and Motorsport and they have produced some excellent material.

In collaboration with other Wikipedia users the articles submitted are given ratings in order to help writers improve them. At the time of writing seven articles are rated at the highest level: Featured Article. These are Damon Hill, Alain Prost, Tom Pryce, Brabham, Brabham BT19, 1994 San Marino Grand Prix and 2005 United States Grand Prix. (The piece on Formula One itself used to be a Featured Article but has now been down-graded).

As good as these articles are, many of the other features suffer from the same problems as other Wikipedia articles – particularly the biographies of current drivers – in that many of the contributions aren’t very useful and serve only to make the articles very long.

The Lewis Hamilton biography is a typical example, and last year was briefly locked for editing because it was being so regularly vandalised (not least of which by a Spanish employee of Mercedes).

I used to contribute to Wikipedia quite a bit but I now invest that time in updating the various information sections on F1Fanatic: biographies, circuit information, team information, history, statistics and more.

Do you use Wikipedia to find out more about Formula 1? Is it reliable?

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23 comments on F1 on Wikipedia

  1. Rohan said on 22nd April 2008, 13:42

    I can’t help think that it’d be more efficient for Wiki/someone to develop a "database" that, once one input race results, would automatically update driver and team pages.

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd April 2008, 13:44

    Would be happy to host something like that here if someone could develop the software.

  3. Journeyer said on 22nd April 2008, 13:58

    Hmmm… I might be able to develop it, Keith.  But since I’ll be on vacation this May, I probably won’t be able to finish it until June.

    Email me in the address I indicated in this post so we can talk specifics if you’re interested.  :)

  4. Ogami said on 22nd April 2008, 14:01

    F1db.com as a database but unfortunately did not developped the requests where it could be very interesting, for example comparing lap times of different years, see who wing when, so what is the race with most lead changes etc…

  5. I used to edit Wikipedia a lot a few years ago, but I decided there were better ways for me to use my time. In fact, I am the creator of ten circuit articles, Timo Glock’s article, and the articles for Red Bull Racing, Midland and Toyota F1! I also created the article entitled ‘Future of Formula One’ which is now one of the major Wikipedia articles related to F1. I definitely had way too much time on my hands back then…

  6. MJohnHurt said on 22nd April 2008, 14:43

    I’ve spent some time on this idea.  I have most of the schema designed (it’s surprisingly hard – how do you record a car that started a race with one driver and finished with another, for instance).  I have all the tracks and events imported.  The next step was to start on drivers, then team, results, times, etc.  The problem is that it takes forever.  I don’t want to be accused of unfairly using someone else’s information so I’ve been doing a lot of hand work and fact checking as I go.  My theory is that once the data is in a RDBMS I can do _anything_ with it.

    I’d like to put it up on my own site w/ advertising, so I don’t feel comfortable just screen scraping f1db.com or allf1, etc.  Does anyone have a free digital source of this information in any format?  I would gladly do the work of getting it in a database.  My idea was that I would maintain the DB moving forward and make it freely available in a easily exchangeable format, maybe sqlite, then anyone who wanted to use it could do whatever they wanted with it, and I could build an advertising supported front end with the functionality I’m interested in and I think others would be interested in also.

  7. Journeyer said on 22nd April 2008, 14:48

    MJohnHurt is a LOT further ahead of the curve than me… Better if we use his idea. :) Free digital source? Hmmm… Here’s some suggestions:

    http://www.f1-stats.de/en
    http://f1-facts.com
    http://www.chicanef1.com

    Hope that helps!

  8. Oliver said on 22nd April 2008, 15:15

    I do find wikipedia an enjoyable read on a wide variety of subjects, sometimes the dept to which the articles are taken can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, F1 seems the be one area they had a lack of interest in. As at the last time I read the wiki F1 article, I felt it lacked dept and was probably written by individuals who lacked a broad knowledge of F1. Perhaps it has changed since then, late 07, perhaps not.

  9. Wikipedia articles generally cannot be trusted as the site itself can’t police it effectively. It’s a shame because an online encyclopedia could be really useful, but inevitably it’s just a bit rubbish.

  10. On the subject of databases, might there be an oportunity to use dabbledb.com here? It’s an interesting concept which I haven’t yet had time to fully explore.

  11. MJohnHurt said on 22nd April 2008, 21:30

    I had a look at dabbledb.  It’s really fascinating but it’s not a great fit for the master repository.  I would see someone taking my DB and throwing it into dabble to play with it.  That’s a sweet update interface though…  I wonder if they handle exporting?  I think I’d shell for the monthly fee to do rapid prototyping and updating in that interface if it would export back into SQL dumps.

  12. I believe they are working on an API atm… But as I say I watched the demo and thought "I need a project to let me play with this". So I’ve been on the lookout.

  13. Dave M said on 22nd April 2008, 23:49

    My claim to fame here, I created the Lewis Hamilton article back in 2004.  Can’t claim much credit for what’s happened to it since though…

  14. Darn it Keith, I really could have used this article a day earlier, as I just finished a peice for f1-pitlane and was using wiki as one of my references. Some of the entries were pitiful – that is the only way to describe them. Not only were they extremely breif, but they were also factually incorrect ( as I was watching youtubes of the events I was writing about, and the pictures and words just didn’t gel).

    But when I googled the items I needed for extra info, the returns just weren’t there, and what was there wasn’t very ‘fleshed out’.

    I am all for a dedicated ‘F1 wiki’ website. Maybe we could call it rookiepedia.com or something?

    Anyhoo am happy to help develop it – anyone who needs a hand can get in touch with me via Keith or f1-pitlane.

  15. Trust wikipedia?

    Not one chance in heck. Keith apparently you experienced the biggest problem with the Hamilton issue. Controversial issues covered at wikipedia are the site biggest downfall, the place is infested with far too many zealots.

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