Wednesday, October 19, 2005

We Knew It All Along 

The founder of wikipedia is now saying that the quality of the encyclopedia has suffered. He admits to attempts to hijack sections of the production and a lack of subject experts.

We're not surprised. We knew that would happen from the beginning. The wikipedia was born of a romantic notion that people would put aside self-interest for the greater good. It doesn't work that way for long: It didn't work that way for wikipedia.

Regrettably, the internet has been a source of much romanticism about human nature. Time and again, such belief has been shattered by spammers, hackers and other near-criminals who see online as a way to advance their interests over that of the community.

Those of us in PR knew from the beginning that the wikipedia was destined to run into trouble if not fail. Documents need editors who make sure that quality goes in and stays. Editors guard accuracy -- or at least, they should be protecting it. There have been notable failures of editing in recent years, as The New York Times will tell you.

I might dislike the pickiness of those who edit my work, but I respect their mission. I might seethe on some days, but they are more right than I am most of the time.


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