I’ve been thinking about Wikipedia quite frequently lately, mainly due to a colleague who is crafting his dissertation around an investigation of the collaborative nature of decision making and consensus on what consistutes “knowledge” within the Wikipedia community. It will prove to be a fascinating dissertation, which I’m sure I’ll continue to comment on as it progresses.
Meanwhile, I came across this post by Dan Gillmor today, where he takes to task an academic critic:
One critic is a Big University professor — a former professional journalist with significant online experience — whose class I visited recently as a guest lecturer. I was talking about Wikipedia, and he launched into a rant about its failings. In particular, he complained about the several inaccuracies in an article about a topic with which he was deeply familiar.
“So,” I asked, “did you fix them?”
“No,” he responded, “I don’t have time for that kind of thing.”
Talk about not getting it. No, we can’t make Wikipedia perfect. But we can improve it, which is the point.