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10 February 2007

Why Wikipedia Wins

I've noticed all sorts of articles, blogs, radio and TV shows etc, using Wikipedia as a source especially in the last year. Often times it's used with tongue slightly in-cheek -- ie. can you believe this? -- but the trend is only going to become more pronounced. Why? As long as an article idea doesn't instantly offend other contributers either because of spam/commercial concerns, obscurity or axe-grinding you can create it. Thus any reporter looking for information on any subject may end up there first since "Google is just a frontend to Wikipedia".

If you've written something remotely interesting it will be adopted by other editors, expanded and made into great little bundles of knowledge. I can't begin to list the number of articles that I've started with just the notion that "there should be an article about this" and created a short stub and look back a year or three later to see a great entry. It's like magic.

Of course, you can't get out of responsibility entirely, you have to check your watchlists to fix vandalism and creeping idiocracy. But we're definitely creating the Hitchhiker's Guide to Life, the Universe and Everything. You'll get frustrated over certain aspects: perhaps the clutter (and nagging) of "needs citation" or some religious war of formatting or a nuance of phrasing but in general these arguments are settled in a reasonable manner.

In all of human history, there has never been a better source for fun learning! (It's my blog so I don't have to cite a source! Hah!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've noticed the same thing, particularly on NBC's "Office" and "30 Rock". They don't refer to it as source in a journalistic way, but as a snarky point of fact.

Saturday, 10 February, 2007  

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