Wikipedia roundup: WSJ.com’s Jason Fry (no relation to Jason Fried) has a rehash (no relation to remix) of the last two weeks of Wikipedia news (free feature). His bottom line is similar to one familiar to readers of this weblog.
But there’s one thing that’s disturbing about Wikipedia that no amount of tweaking can resolve — and, not surprisingly, it’s something disturbing and impossible to solve about the larger Net as well. And that’s the fact that we put far too much faith in technology. Even though we’ve heard innumerable times that the Web has let anyone be a publisher, too often we treat print on a screen as if it’s been through the quality-control processes behind books, magazines or newspapers — not that such publications are anything close to infallible. To this oft-unconscious bias, add in the magic of search engines that spit out dizzying amounts of information in response to our silliest query. A Web search feels like we’re doing something complicated and rigorous, and when what comes back is a well-designed Web page or Wikipedia entry, it feels like we’ve done something right. Arriving at such a page should just be the start of assessing the information we’re given and deciding how much to trust it, but too often we treat it as the finish line.
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