Anyone who watches the news is probobly aware of the flak that Wikipedia has caught over the years. It’s a site that believes itself to be a relible source of info, but allows the average undereducated  Joe to edit it, and practically invites vandalism. Because of this many people don’t trust it as a serious source of information. I’ve even had college professors forbid us to use it for projects, and instead rely on the library encyclopedias, vintage 1974. True this stigma is probobly derived partly out of a fear of change, but there is some basis to it. In Brian Lamb’s article “Wide Open Spaces: Wiki, Ready or not”  Brian discusses a phenomena known as “Soft Security”. This means that when someone either purposely, or through ignorance damages an entry, the do gooders flow back in like water, fill in the cracks, and make the necesary repairs. This may work, but there is still a period of time when the article is damaged and the information is unreliable. It seems like it would also be possible for this individual to contunually counteredit the page he/she wants changed so badly, leaving us with faulty info over and over untill he or she gets bored, or finds a can of spray paint and a brick wall to be sidetracked by. I guess what I’m saying is Lamb acted like this soft security was the answer to all of a wiki’s problems, but wouldn’t that dependant on things like a wiki’s readership? If you botch an edit and only have two or three readers it’s gonna stay botched.  I’ve encountered several websites that discuss this and other wiki weaknesses. Below are a few links to these sites. I’m not anti-Wiki. Wikipedia is actually pretty amazing. Instead of relying on one persons knowledge we rely on hundreds or even millions.  But it seems to me that a small part of those millions will always gum up the works. I guess I just don’t have as much faith in humanity as Ward Cunningham, or Brian Lamb. Maybe I’ve read a few too many comments at the end of U-tube videos. Also, a pro wiki stance would have been the obvious thing to do.

http://reportonwikis.wikispaces.com/Drawbacks+of+Wikis

http://www.bestcollegesonline.com/blog/2009/02/10/25-biggest-blunders-in-wikipedia-history/

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10784_3-6102088-7.html

http://www.gaj-it.com/30140/wikipedia-celebrates-tenth-birthday-but-can-it-survive-much-longer/

Advertisements