Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wikipedia Watch

There be net.kook-ery here, but this point is valid:

While Wikipedia itself does not run ads, they are the most-scraped site on the web. Scrapers need content — any content will do — in order to carry ads from Google and other advertisers. This entire effect is turning Wikipedia into a generator of spam


Jerry Holkins, the writer over a Penny Arcade, put forth last week the most eloquent and erudite delineation of the inherent flaws of Wikepedia that I've ever seen. My opinion mirrors his, and he says it better than I ever could --

"As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has some issues. As a model of how and where distributed intellect fails, it's almost shockingly comprehensive.

"Reponses to criticism of Wikipedia go something like this: the first is usually a paean to that pure democracy which is the project's noble fundament. If I don't like it, why don't I go edit it myself? To which I reply: because I don't have time to babysit the Internet. Hardly anyone does. If they do, it isn't exactly a compliment.

"Any persistent idiot can obliterate your contributions. The fact of the matter is that all sources of information are not of equal value, and I don't know how or when it became impolitic to suggest it. In opposition to the spirit of Wikipedia, I believe there is such a thing as expertise.

"The second response is: the collaborative nature of the apparatus means that the right data tends to emerge, ultimately, even if there is turmoil temporarily as dichotomous viewpoints violently intersect. To which I reply: that does not inspire confidence. In fact, it makes the whole effort even more ridiculous. What you've proposed is a kind of quantum encyclopedia, where genuine data both exists and doesn't exist depending on the precise moment I rely upon your discordant fucking mob for my information."