Thursday, March 27, 2008

(Wikipedia) the good and... the not so good...



To leave here on a light note, here’s my favorite “quote” from Wikipedia: “Jimmy Wales was born to a Parisian whore named ‘Babette’ during the French Revolution”(this can be still found on Wikipedia — it’s part of the archived edits for the “Jimmy Wales” entry). Good reason not to take Wikipedia too seriously…:)


P.S. take care! D.
Hi, Matthew!

Yes, my comment doesn’t make it clear that Mark’s article was on wikis, in general. My bad. But he definitely talks about Wikipedia *in particular*:

“Early in this process, Wikipedia launched and began its completely unexpected rise into utility. In some ways, Wikipedia has an easy job: as an encyclopedia it must provide a basic summary of facts, not a detailed exploration of a topic, and it is generally possible for someone with a basic background in a topic to provide this much information. Yet this critique overlooks the immense breadth of Wikipedia (as of this writing, nearly 2.3 million articles in its English-language version). By casting its net wide – inviting all experts, everywhere, to contribute their specific knowledge – not only has Wikipedia covered the basics, it’s also covering everything else. No other encyclopedia could hope to be as comprehensive as Wikipedia, because no group of individuals – short of the billion internet-connected individuals who have access to Wikipedia – could be so comprehensively knowledgeable on such a wide range of subjects.

Wikipedia will ever remain a summary of human knowledge; that is its intent, and there are signs that the Wikipedians are becoming increasingly zealous in their enforcement of this goal. Summaries are significant and important (particularly for the mass of us who are casually interested in a particular topic), but summaries do not satisfy our obsessive natures. Although Wikipedia provides an outlet for expertise, it does not cross the salience gap. This left an opening for a new generation of Wikis designed to provide depth immersion in a particular obsession. (Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, realized this, and created as a resource where these individuals can create highly detailed Wikis.)”

Since your post deals with Wikipedia *in particular*, that was the part of Mark’s article I commented on. And you are both most welcome!


P.S. I don’t view Wikipedia as an authoritative source and I don’t think it’s intended to be used that way. I think it’s just a good starting point for learning about things with the understanding that it may not be correct… that it IS wrong and biased in places and will *always* be (these are the trade-offs, as far as I can see). D.

Your comment is definitely interesting and entertaining (like pretty much everything I’ve seen of yours). But I also find that Dave Winer’s experience with Wikipedia (and I’m sure he is not the only one who’s had such a frustration experience with it — how *could* he be?) does shed some light on the sort of trade-offs an enterprise like Wikipedia entails.


P.S. I liked your article but I didn’t find it particularly balanced. I got the feeling that you were subtly arguing *for* Wikipedia, not taking a detached look at it. Nothing wrong with that, of course… it’s just not the *whole* story, as far as I can tell… D.

I love Jon's patience...

I love your patience, Jon… I don’t know what your rate of getting a response on this site is (it’s gotta be better than mine as of late) but it may not be that much better… yet you are hitting almost every single entry…


P.S. good luck with it! I’m taking a break… D.

Monday, March 3, 2008

(Facebook) bad incentives


I think the real problem is that Facebook is for profit and, as long as it can get away with it, it's against its interest to let people easily move "their existance" elsewhere. So unless it MUST allow this (maybe some regulation? or serious competition), form the business POV, it makes no sense for them to do it...


P.S. As for the people joining these things, if they *want* to have the kind of "existence" Facebook provides, they don't have much of a choice, do they? Where are they going to go? Whatever other for profit alternatives might be around, they are going to have the same counterincentives.