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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.

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The Wikipedia game

You are currently browsing comments. If you would like to return to the full story, you can read the full entry here: “The Wikipedia game”.

Filed under: branding, cars, culture, interests, internet, leadership, media, publishing, technology—Jack Yan @ 02.53

9 Responses to ‘The Wikipedia game’

  1. jaklumen says:

    Just wanted to let you know, Jack, that I read this, but at the moment I’m too tired and in pain to come up with a better reply, that is, if what I write next is lacking.

    I think I understand better why you’re not a fan of Wikipedia, at least, not anymore. I think your sentence here sums it up in total for me:
    But many pages seem to reflect the great social experiment of the internet: email was great before spammers, and YouTube is great without comments. Democratization does not always mean that the masses will improve things, especially in the realm of specialist knowledge.

    That, I think, is the tricky balance: making information accessible to the masses without running the risk of it being tainted by herd mentality.

    I will give you one example where I don’t find the balance being struck: Wikipedia remains, to a large extent, my best source for immediate medical information, most specifically on pharmaceuticals. I had to explain to one of my physician’s nurses that I do not run with that knowledge willy-nilly. Drugs.com usually spits out the same information that manufacturers include as a paper insert along with the bottle. I do not generally trust sites like WebMD. My pain doc suggested I search Google Scholar, but most of those articles are behind a paywall unless I can find a search hit to a PDF. Just as I had to explain to that aforementioned nurse that I am unlikely to abuse drugs (he would have to remind me not to skimp on dosages first), so I was unlikely to show him hypochondriac worries or abuse information I read on the Internet. I said I would come in and vet that information with them first.

    Oh… some of the anecdotes you describe for Wikipedia I have heard plague Wikia (specifically, Wikia’s Runescape Wiki). I don’t doubt for a second that if your observations of the Internet do indeed apply, well, just about anywhere that follows a wiki-like structure runs into these power struggles amongst its contributors.

  2. Jack Yan says:

    I’m really sorry to know you’re in pain at the moment and really hope you find a solution soon.
       I thought Wikipedia was good about 10 years ago, and that it was a fab idea.
       It’s a real shame that something as important as medication is also inaccurate. My stuff is trivial in comparison. Your subjects affect lives.
       What is happening there is highly irresponsible of the Wikipedia higher-ups. The more people there are, the more some will jostle for position—they are not the idealists, but those who just want to be seen as idealists.

  3. Quora says:

    What does Jimmy Wales think when a university professor discourages students from citing Wikipedia as a primary or secondary source?

    I have some concerns over Wikipedia. Generally I agree with Mr Wales’s position. But the fact that some game the system within has led to some real inaccuracies, and those inaccuracies then propagate as fact over the internet. I note, for instance, it…

  4. […] started the site because I was fed up with Wikipedia and its endless errors on its car pages—I’ve written elsewhere about the sheer fictions there. Autocade would not have Wikiality, and everything is checked, where possible, with period sources, […]

  5. […] decision, he concludes, was made by a cabal of 50 editors based on anecdotes.    ;I’ve stated before on this blog how Wikipedia is broken, the abusive attitude of one of its editors, and how even luminaries like the late Aaron Swartz and […]

  6. […] the spelling and grammar, but these massive factual mistakes are worse than what can be found in Wikipedia, and I often label parts of that site as […]

  7. […] I wrote a pretty scathing piece on Drivetribe about Wikipedia’s inadequacies, in part based on an earlier blog post I wrote here.    I am grateful to Nick who I expect saw my story.    However, […]

  8. […] told the story before on this blog and elsewhere, about how the site came to be—annoyed by the inaccuracies and fictions of Wikipedia (who said the masses would be smart enough to get rid of the mistakes?), I took a leaf out of the […]

  9. […] venture to say that the “death of expertise” is an Anglophone phenomenon. Head into Wikipedia, for instance, and you’ll find proof that the masses are not a good way to ensure accuracy, at […]

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