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?
One thought on “Wikipedia”
I've been addicted to Wikipedia ever since you mentioned it a while back. And, while I think it's a wonderful idea, I do have to question its validity as a "resource" of sorts. Anyone can change things, alter content and are we really prepared to give the intelligence credit to anybody who happens to wander across the site and THINK they know something about this or that? Of course, like you said, there are those who come along and fix it, but in that time there's problem some poor high school student trying to write a report and thinking they have found a reliable source (by now they should know nothing on the web is "reliable" per say). Can't dog it too much; I have found some incredible new books to read that I may not have come across otherwise.
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