Slashdot | The Battle For Wikipedia’s Soul

March 10, 2008

Slashdot | The Battle For Wikipedia’s Soul
“It can either strive to encompass every aspect of human knowledge, no matter how trivial; or it can adopt a more stringent editorial policy and ban articles on trivial subjects, in the hope that this will enhance its reputation as a trustworthy and credible reference source. These two conflicting visions are at the heart of a bitter struggle inside Wikipedia between ‘inclusionists,’ who believe that applying strict editorial criteria will dampen contributors’ enthusiasm for the project, and ‘deletionists’ who argue that Wikipedia should be more cautious and selective about its entries.”

[See full article in the economist]

Of course, for me there is no question, this is probably about ENGLISH more than it is less dominant languages. No one seems to be complaining about problems in reliability in Japanese articles on Anne of Green Gables (and they’re pretty bad, according to yuka). What cracks me up is that the group who want to be more cautious probably aren’t asking any forward thinking academics. Personally, and I’ve given this a modicum of thought, we should include everything. Cautious selectivity will just cause administratium. And if people want rigor, the first thing they should stop doing is believing blind peer review, trust nothing, and make their own decisions for good or ill. Peer review is as much mere complicity in the process than anything else. There are great people doing great work both behind peer review and in general public, but there’s no academic mechanism or corporate filter that’s going to ensure one is better than the other.

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