Web Development

Disabused by the Wikipedia


The Register has posted an interview with Wikipedia cofounder Jimmy

Wales wherein the "uberpedian" admits that, as a general reference

source, the Wikipedia is pretty unreliable.

What's scary is that as free open content the Wikipedia is quoted

verbatim on at least half a dozen other "reference" sites, propagating

the inaccuracies as consensus fact (Answers.com, I'm looking in your

direction).


Now, I've been pretty open about my love of the Wikipedia and use of it as a core reference for Geek Trivia,

though I rarely use it as a sole reference, and take pains to

back-check the cited references of any Wikipedia articles I use. Plus,

I have a great editor who keeps me straight, and I'm pretty lucky in

that my Trivia subjects are rarely those that misinformed laymen would

bother to expound upon. Variant definitions of the North Pole and alternate methods for calculating lunar months don't get as much play as the Bill Gates biography.


Still, I'm sure that there are plenty of closed-content curmudgeons who

will use Wales' admission to dismiss the entire open content movement,

while the Creative Commons crowd will scream that this is an

out-of-context indictment that is neither accurate nor fair. Me, I tend

to agree with Barb Dybwad over at The Social Software Weblog, who warns

that Web 2.0 (Warning: Industry Buzzword!) will be all about open content and collective intelligence,

so we'd better find a way to balance the wiki free-for-all and closed

content's glacially slow and inefficient high quality control.


Crack that nut, and we'll all have a better Internet, and--more importantly--better Geek Trivia.

About

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

Editor's Picks