A few months back, in a moment of weakness, I decided to enrol for a distance-learning course one component of which is a module in information design. One of our assignments was to contribute to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia which anyone can edit. The challenge, of course, is to come up with a new subject; after all, there are already one and a half million articles in the English-language version alone.

To my delight, nobody had written about Pat Donohue and I figured with the connections to A Prairie Home Companion, Chet Atkins, the Grammy awards, etc., he was a legitimate subject for biography. It was great fun: some four minutes after I had posted the biography the first edit by a total stranger was made.

In the meantime, I’ve discovered that there’s no entry for. . . Folk Alley! So your homework, class, is to get our favorite broadcaster of all things folkie into the system. Who wants to take the initial plunge? It’s easy. Just go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page and follow the easy instructions.

I have to say that I’ve become a fan of this medium. The fact that all of us can make our own revisions is both intriguing and a little scary. There’s no question that Wikipedia (and others of its ilk) can be victimized by hoaxes and intentional misinformation but generally, the worst of this seems to be contained. I can’t wait to see what y’all come up with!

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