Found via Roger Darlington’s blog Nighthawk:
The other way of creating an encyclopaedia is to create a space on the Web and invite passers-by to write articles. This is such a preposterous idea that nobody in their right mind would entertain it for a moment. How, then, do we explain the fact that someone has done it, and that it is a raging success?
Read the rest of the article at The Guardian.
Naughton makes a great point. How on earth does this work, what with so many people out there being jerks and whatnot? But it does. You know, I also use Wikipedia more than most other reference sites online. I even have a plugin with Firefox that allows me to highlight a word, right-click, and look it up in Wikipedia. Most of one of my recent Pensieve posts was written largely with the help of Wikipedia. It’s all open source. You can alter or write articles if you want. Yes, you! Of course, someone may come along and change what you’ve written. And as Naughton points out, vandalism happens. It also happens to get repaired by the good geeks to find it. It’s a pretty cool community and a great resource. Take the knowledge of humanity on the web, construct a way for them to share it, and you have probably one of the best and most comprehensive encyclopedias ever produced. Who would’ve thunk it?