Wikiwhacking

Wikiwhacking: Ross Mayfield: “Wikipedia isn’t dead” (I agree, but don’t understand the headline, however).

Dave Winer: “Now if the strongest advocates of Wikipedia would start talking realistically about the weaknesses of the approach in addition to the strengths, the utopian stuff, we might be able to work together to improve it. But there’s no evidence of that in the latest round.”

I am a Wikipedia zealot and I spend a great deal of my evening hours tending an ambitious project, Smallbusiness.com, much of which resides on a Mediawiki platform. However, I’m in agreement with Dave on this one, especially regarding Wikipedia. As much as I’m a wiki-zealot, I realize that Wikipedia can often be misunderstood and the information found there can be misapplied by casual visitors who don’t — despite disclaimers blaring out — realize what’s taking place. Lots of people end up there after a Google search and merely see Wikipedia as “a free encyclopedia.”

Used correctly — understood correctly — Wikipedia is one of the true wonders of the Internet. However, my rule still stands: “Use Wikipedia as a gateway to facts, not a source of them.” The same is true for what you learn in blogs or the New York Times, for that matter. That so much information and knowledge is available in so many forms and from so many sources is utopian. However, there is a downside to that, also, if everyone treats everything as having the same level of authority.

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