« The New ME democracies | Main | Rice on MeetThePress »

December 18, 2005


John Robb

Thanks for the feedback Dave. If your intent was to get them to improve their process, then I stand corrected.

I agree that a statement that claims that Tet was the turning point of the war should be sourced. A contrary claim should be sourced too. In fact, the 'turning point' in Vietnam could fill an entire page on the site.


The "debate" gets picked up by David Fry

May/may not be "eye's only" subscription page
I subscribe, so don't know any better as to access by "outside world"

I do know that I challanged an entry some months ago that was pretty PC on Global Warming/Thermo Haline Cycle.
I questioned tone and was marked as "vandalizing the page"

Note : page has since been edited and looks much more useful.


Wikipedia's intent is to create a FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA for impoverished people around the world and it does not take sides, if its users do, they and others do there best to fix this. Given the growth in content covered and that a very small amount of its viewing audience add, edit, and delete content - errors are to be expected.

Second, if PageRank defines what is right then that is more flawed system then Wikipedia's wiki - Google is now selling organic search results to AOL. If you don't like your page on unconference ranking lower than the one Wikipedia add your content to the page at Wikipedia.


By the way, given the amount of content present on Wikipedia it would not suprise me if they had a SIGMA 6 rating... no one is prefect, and given that Wikipedia is a non-profit producing free products they are doing very well for the community.



you write in a comment above: "when Wikipedia expresses an opinion, I can't tell whose it is (unless they tell me, good luck with that)."

Yet, in my experience investigating entries that I care/know about, attribution (and therefore links to reputation/context) are a key part of the wikipedia experience, and there is transparency. Just click on the History tab and you can compare any versions:

(it was unclear to me whether your quote above was referencing the anonymous changes, or the lack of context for a given username, or the non-obviousness of this feature)

You keep using the pronoun "they" in referring to Wikipedia. Why not "us" - like blogging, like scripting, like podcasting, it's all about open engagement, disintermediation, our media (and everything else) revolution.

Help build an OPML front-end around wikipedia, and you'll launch the distribupedia (call it what you may), which will break out of the centralized-server paradigm of wikipedia to the same extent that wikipedia breaks out of the centralized-content-creation-and-management mindset of classic encyclopedias, and all the exclusivity and hierarchy and other social structures embedded in that model. Build the API so that every visitor to your site becomes a collaborator in enhancing our modeling of reality. Let a thousand 'unconference' definitions bloom!

R (who swears he heard the term 'unconference' used more than a decade ago, perhaps the Computer History Museum might have relevant documents not yet indexed/searchable. Remember, just because it's not in the web/UseNet archives doesn't mean it didn't happen!)

phil jones

[quote]I wouldn't care so much if it didn't have so much authority and also if its branding didn't imply that it's an encyclopedia.[/quote]

Dave. On the subject being "branded" as an encyclopedia, surely the word "wiki" in the name is a massive clue?

What's stranger for me : don't you see a parallel between wikipedia and blogging?

For years, mainstream media have been complaining about blogs as being places where people can write what they like without editors and fact-checkers. And I'm sure you'd respond to them by saying "look, blogs are different from newspapers. They have different virtues and perils. They shouldn't be compared, and shouldn't be dismissed because they aren't run to the same standards as newspapers."

And if somebody said : "I understand that, but the problem with blogs is that they *pretend* to be respectable news sites" I'm sure you'd say : "no, they're very clearly being blogs. A blog isn't a pretend newspaper, it's a blog"

I think Wikipedia is a different kind of animal in the same way. It is what it is. It's a wikipedia. Not a britanica. And it's not pretending to be anything else.

phil jones

+1 to raines's idea that one response to wikipedia is to build something at its edges. Maybe with an OPML connection ... ;-)


in what sense is wikipedia not an encyclopedia? i wonder what baggage / connotation Dave is attaching to the term that he thinks is violated by the wiki's openness?

btw, here's one random definition grabbed from some website whose authority i did not take the time to research:

An encyclopedia (alternatively encyclopaedia/encyclopædia) is a written compendium. A compendium is a comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge. A compendium usually contains principal heads, or general principles, of a larger work or system.

ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία (engkuklios paideia), literally "a rounded education". Many encyclopedias are titled Cyclopaedia and the terms are interchangeable.

phil jones

The real dirty secret of wikipedia is how much of it is cribbed from other online encyclopediae. I was curious as to whether this story was accurate : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclop%C3%A9die

because this one didn't mention the "translation of the Chambers cyclopedia" bit (http://www.iep.utm.edu/e/encyclop.htm )

but now I see it's been nicked from the Catholic encyclopedia : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05418a.htm

tim fong

Could you clarify for me why you view it as unethical to modify a page about yourself? Very curious.


The comments to this entry are closed.