Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Truth" according to Wikipedia = mob rule

Here is an interesting piece regarding the accuracy of Wikipedia:
In a May 2006 essay on the technology and culture website, futurist Jaron Lanier called Wikipedia an example of “digital Maoism”–the closest humanity has come to a functioning mob rule.

Lanier was moved to write about Wikipedia because someone kept editing his Wikipedia entry to say that he was a film director. Lanier describes himself as a “computer scientist, composer, visual artist, and author.” He is good at all those things, but he is no director. According to his essay, he made one short experimental film in the 1990s, and it was “awful.”

“I have attempted to retire from directing films in the alternative universe that is the Wikipedia a number of times, but somebody always overrules me,” Lanier wrote. “Every time my Wikipedia entry is corrected, within a day I’m turned into a film director again.”

Since Lanier’s attempted edits to his own Wikipedia entry were based on firsthand knowledge of his own career, he was in direct violation of Wikipedia’s three core policies. He has a point of view; he was writing on the basis of his own original research; and what he wrote couldn’t be verified by following a link to some kind of legitimate, authoritative, and verifiable publication.

See the full article here: Wikipedia: The Standard of Truth