This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 26, 2008 9:00 PM. The previous post in this blog was If Obama's going to get elected. The next post in this blog is Lies and the lying liars who tell them. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

The Wiki people

Who writes Wikipedia? All sorts of folks from all over, is what I gather. I don't write those entries, but I sure do read them, and link the heck out of them. Pretty amazing how much authority they have gained in such a short time.

Anyway, a group of Oregonians who have been shepherding Oregon-related content into the Wiki system have started their own blog. So if you're ready to go meta-Wiki, there you are.

Comments (8)

Thanks for the kind words, Jack!

I don't trust wikis anymore.

There has been several controversies about people writing factual information with verifiable sources only to have their facts deleted because they don't agree with the opinions of the moderators.

My Wiki trust level has not changed much. I've always approached them with a degree of skepticism, and still do. They're quite helpful, for what they are worth.

Anthony- Wiki is just a kind of software (although there is a certain ethos that tends to follow wikis around). There's really no reason you SHOULD trust something that's on a wiki (any more than you should trust something written on paper, or carved into a marble tablet.)

At Wikipedia, we have lots of policies and guidelines that, when followed, tend to lead to pretty good articles. When I'm first evaluating a Wikipedia article, one of the first things I'll do is look at the References section, to get a sense of how much effort has been put into citing the facts presented.

Anyway -- I spend a ton of time working on Wikipedia, but I would never tell you to trust its accuracy. It varies too much from one article to the next. Most Wikipedia editors share my view. As with any other source, it's important to do a little critical thinking about the quality of what you're reading.

Maybe I'll do a more detailed post on this topic in the future -- I'm sure it's something many people would be interested in.

At Wikipedia, we have lots of policies and guidelines that, when followed, tend to lead to pretty good articles.

Pete, based on what you wrote, it sounds like you're an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation. is that true, or are you a content contributor?

Oh, definitely not -- but thanks for the compliment!

But for the most part, "we" the volunteer community write the policies and guidelines -- not the Foundation. (There are a few exceptions, I think, where legal liability comes in.)

Maybe that helps explain why a mere volunteer would refer to them as "our" policies?

i like the Wikimedia model. using a wide volunteer base has had the surprising effect of raising the quality of content. not consistently, but generally, overall.

Jack, this post brought us over 100 hits in our first day or so, which was absolutely instrumental in establishing ourselves quickly in the blogosphere...the response in general has been great, and your link was by far the biggest part of that equation.

So big, warm wiki thanks to you!


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