Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Take That, Wikipedia. 

This memo from The New York Times says it all about wikipedia. PR practitioners shouldn't use it either without crosschecking the information.

I know, I know. There are some readers who see red when I criticize wikipedia and the concept of a community-built encyclopedia. The fact remains there are people with bad intentions who do bad things and in a work the size of wikipedia, their errors are not always caught. Hence, wikipedia has a credibility problem that will take time to solve. I've said all along that community sites need editors. You shouldn't trust people to do the right thing.

There is a streak of romanticism on the internet that believes in the essential goodness of people and of the ability of the community to correct the wayward. This has never been true and never will be true. The romantics forget the "tragedy of the commons." For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept, the commons were community pastures of medieval towns. Everybody used the same pasture. Hence, everyone was supposed to take care of it. But, that wasn't what happened. Because no one owned the pasture, no one took care of it, and the commons would be over-grazed and ruined. The internet community, or commons, is the same way. Someone needs to maintain control to prevent lapses in quality and ill-intentions.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?