First up… for those of you who don’t know Wikipedia is a free online encyclopaedia, which can be edited and contributed to by anyone. It is an amazing resource of knowledge, try it for even the most obscure things it is damn good.
Right… the meat of todays ranting… The press have been giving it a bit of a battering recently as some entries have been “vandalised”. The latest incorrect entries involved James Bond being dead and Borat being listed is the president of Kazakhstan… now I think they’ve missed a trick here, in all the discussions of how bad it is that pretty much anyone can edit these entries and how factually incorrect these things are, isn’t it awful… bla bla.
This misses the point, if you spot something you think is incorrect you can flag it to the community of contributors and it will get revised… the only reason these “vandalised” entries stayed put for so long (and it wasn’t long) is that anyone who saw the entry on knew it was inaccurate and probably left it because it was funny.
I think the problem here is that we are facing a very fundamental shift in the human race, as people we evolve naturally from being dependent on others (as an infant) to being more independent as an individual. We’re constantly told that we should strive to be independent, but I don’t agree and I’m not alone.
We’re moving to a third level of society, where we will begin to realise (and I make no claim to being first on this one) that true strength comes in interdependence. We can achieve far more by working together than working alone, the new wave of web 2.0 applications reflects this change.
These wikipedia bashing articles, miss that important point. Wikipedia is hugely important and valid as a site for reference, more so than any other, but in using it we must understand and accept that it is a collaborative effort and always question what we read. It’s like comparing a book to the internet, similar but a step beyond.