Horst is guilty of preventing me from doing university stuff. He wrote a grumpy rant about the shortcomings of Wikipedia.
I wrote several long comments trying to correct his picture of Wikipedia, among others
What happens if you read a “random hit” from Google and notice a bug? Often it is not easy to find a contact address of the author, and even if there is a contact information, there is no gurantee this bug will ever be fixed.
There is no easy way to tell the world that this information is wrong.
The Wikipedia contributors believe that n+1 eyes find more bugs than n eyes.
I 100% agree with you, that an encylopedia is about trust. To help your decision about the trust of a Wikipedia article, you can also look at the whole history. If a fact has survived more than 100 edits, i would trust it more than one that has been added only recently. (One feature I am still missing in Wikipedia is a “cvs annotate” like functionality)
Another comment from myself, about linking in Wikipedia.
I really should do more research on this topic and write a longer article in the summer holidays.
The good thing about it — giving everybody who visits the opportunity to share their knowledge — turned into a bad thing because there are just too many people out there who are feeling compelled to share their lack of knowledge.
This could be generalized to apply to the Internet or Publishing. And I really hope that this is not the future.
On the german Wikipedia Mailinglist there is currently a similar discussion on how to ensure the quality.
If you are a wikipedia contributor, I would really like to know, if you can confirm Horst’s claim that the quality of your contributions was decreased by the follow-up edits?
Update 2004-06-03: Horsts article is making a lot of noise in the german Blogosphere. Some articles and comments are interesting to read:
- Mathias Schindler – Why wikipedia sucks less than TROTW*
- Der Schockwellenreiter – Scheffredakteur!? We don’t need no stinky Scheffredakteur!
- IT&W – Das Web im Web
( *Wow*, Although I don’t understand the popularity and the general philosophy behind Schockwellenreiter and IT&W, this is the first time i link to them. The advantage of popular blogs are the many and high quality comments.)