On Monday's Colbert Report, Stephen discussed the Wikipedia process in The Wørd segment ("Wikiality"):

Last week, The New Yorker published an article on Wikipedia: Know it All: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise? "Wikipedia remains a lumpy work in progress. The entries can read as though they had been written by a seventh grader: clarity and concision are lacking; the facts may be sturdy, but the connective tissue is either anemic or absent; and citation is hit or miss."

The New Yorker article goes to the information literacy critique of Wikipedia. On a macro level, Wikipedia has generally good rate of accuracy (at least if we were thinking of it as a baseball batting average.) But Wikipedia has a far lower level of accuracy for any individual fact.

At Freedom to Tinker, David Robinson contemplates: The New Yorker Covers Wikipedia "When reading Wikipedia, one has to react to surprising claims by entertaining the possibility that they might not be true. The less plausible a claim sounds, the more skepticism one must have when considering it."

The Onion's take is (as usual) dead on: Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence: "Wikipedia, the online, reader-edited encyclopedia, honored the 750th anniversary of American independence on July 25 with a special featured section on its main page Tuesday."

Marshall Poe, in The Atlantic Monthly, thinks that the hive mind works well: The Hive: "Can thousands of Wikipedians be wrong? How an attempt to build an online encyclopedia touched off history’s biggest experiment in collaborative knowledge."

ikkyu2, a neurologist and contributor to Wikipedia articles on neurology cogently discusses Wikipedia's expert problem: What's Wrong with Wikipedia: "I still like the Wikipedia, but not as an encyclopedia. It's just an enjoyable, relaxing way to fool around and waste some time; enjoyable for its own sake, but not useful as a finished product. I would never recommend it to my patients nor to anyone else as a source of reliable information."

Windy City Mike: Why I Quit Wikipedia "The problem is: Wikipedia believes truth derives from consensus. It doesn’t. Pablum derives from consensus; popular belief derives from consensus. And if you’re lucky, the least offensive common denominator of the truth derives from consensus.…Wikipedia articles do not represent truth; they represent popular consensus."

Anil Dash looks at Wikipedia through the spectrum of community governance: Antipedia: "The real issue is that Wikipedia is a not-so-small community of people, facing the same challenges of governance, accountability, and policing that any community this size would face. I can't help but think that most of these issues arise because Wikipedia essentially runs with the equivalent of a Declaration of Independence but no Constitution."

Previously: The Problem with Wikipedia (Apr. 19)
Wikipedia and Authority (Dec. 19, 2005)
Wikipedia Woes (Dec. 16, 2005)


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