Mknac’s Weblog

Diving into the shallow pool of Web 2.0 and Social Media head first!

Wikis, powered by people; The more the merrier

During class last week we talked about Wikis and focused predominantly on Wikipedia. We did discuss some other wikis in class and our readings. But the question is; do you trust the information on a wiki; how could a wiki be set up to be more accurate; should a wiki be open to everyone or just “experts?” Today you can find wikis on many subjects. For example there is even one about “Star Wars” called Wookiepedia.


I believe at some time President Ronald Regan said “trust but verify” as it related to the SALT II negotiations with the then Soviet Union. I actually like Wikipedia. However you need to verify the information in any given article. If you are relying on one source of primary or secondary research for a paper or article you’re most likely not going to produce a document of much depth. Wikipedia is certainly a great resource and it provides many links to other information on any given topic. So by all means go to Wikipedia, but like anything else verify what information you choose to use or believe. I went to Wikipedia and looked up the organization I work for. I was amazed that somebody had gone in and submitted articles, over a hundred, about many aspects of the organization. But he or she did very little secondary research about my organization. They basically just cut and pasted things from our website into the articles. Perhaps I should ask for another employee whose job would be to rewrite all those Wikipedia entries? Lol

I think that anybody should be able to edit a wiki, not just “experts.” The whole point of a wiki is that the information of hundreds is greater than that of one so-called “expert.” The great thing about a wiki is that is the contributions of all who are interested in any given subject makes the greater article better. For example an “expert” who writes a great technical article may not be a good writer. A non-expert in the subject but who understands grammar my edit the article to make it a better read without changing the content of the expert. Would you rather read a technically accurate article that is poorly written or well written? So yes there is opportunity for everyone to contribute to a wiki not just “experts.”

To be honest I don’t at this time have any ideas to make wikis better or to make the articles more accurate. It seems that the community of wiki content providers for Wikipedia is doing a good job of providing accurate articles and keeping the site safe from vandals. The story that Clay Shirky mentions in his book “Here Comes Everybody” about the “Los Angeles Times” and their attempt to create a wikitorial was funny. First because it was the “Los Angeles Times,” a windbag newspaper if there ever was one, and second that nobody cared enough about the “Times” or their editorials to delete the clearly malicious posts vandals made to the site. The Wikipedia community cares and doesn’t allow such vandalism to be on Wikipedia.

I’m generally amazed at how technically correct and more in depth Wikipedia articles are compared to traditional hard copy encyclopedias. People care enough about Wikipedia to write good articles and to remove incorrect, biased and mean spirited posts. As long as the Wikipedia maintains the current level of dedication in protecting the site I don’t think any new systems need to be added. Hopefully the Wikipedia community will continue to grow.


June 23, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , , | 1 Comment