Home > community > wikipedia’s death is highly exaggerated

wikipedia’s death is highly exaggerated

Nicholas Carr decides that imposing a few constraints to preserve civility equals the death of Wikipedia. I’m envious of Carr’s ability to turn a phrase; his comments on the death of ideals are stirring. But hyperbole like this leaves me cold:

Where once we had a commitment to open democracy, we now have a commitment to “making sure things are not excessively semi-protected.” Where once we had a commune, we now have a gated community, “policed” by “good editors.” So let’s pause and shed a tear for the old Wikipedia, the true Wikipedia. Rest in peace, dear child. You are now beyond the reach of vandals.

I’ve written before that I didn’t think you could maintain something as big as Wikipedia without some constraints. From my perspective, those constraints are necessary to prevent behavior that damages the veracity or NPOV nature of the contributed content.

Any user can still advance through a trial period towards full-fledge privileges by refraining from abuse – I’d argue this is the model that the community has been evolving towards (almost inevitably) since it was instantiated.

Categories: community
  1. john
    May 25, 2006 at 9:16 pm

    also, a very high number of articles in wikipedia are over non-controversial subjects. while everyone has a different point of view, how destructive could the most horrific war be for the Pekingese article?

    i’ve found wikipedia a great starting place on many subjects. and like anything on the web, i don’t trust a single source. i know how wikipedia works, and i weigh the value of each article i read accordingly.

  2. May 25, 2006 at 9:30 pm

    I agree with you, John. I am curious if there are non-controversial subjects that have wound up getting abusive additions and redactions by problem users. The impact is lessened by the non-essential nature of the article – but that evaluation is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

    Every subject is important to at least someone out there.

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