Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

WIkipedia Revisited (Again)

By Dennis D. McDonald

I've witnessed firsthand some of the editorial craziness surrounding Wikipedia. Frankly, I'm tired of the subject.

For those who are still awake to this topic and would welcome a wonderfully long and opinionated discussion of the issues swirling around Wikipedia, check out WIkipedia Revisited, by Walt Crawford, in the newsletter Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, Volume 7, Number 3.

"Cites & Insights" is described as a "...journal of libraries, policy, technology and media, ... written and produced by Walt Crawford, a senior analyst at OCLC." OCLC is the Online Computer Library Center, a pioneer and world leader in library automation, bibliographic data standards, and library cooperation. OCLC is located in Dublin, Ohio and is a stone's throw from my alma mater, Ohio State. (Go Buckeyes!)

Here are two paragraphs from Crawford's "comments & conclusions" section:

One frequently cited issue, the uncertainty as to whether stuff in Wikipedia has any basis in fact, is to some extent being dealt with as articles show ever more footnotes. Unfortunately, that process seems to have two negative side effects: It makes the articles harder to read (when there are superscript numbers every sentence or two), and it may be making articles even less coherent and “voiced.”

There’s nothing earthshaking here, just an update on continuing issues in the wacky world of Wikipedia. I believe Wikipedia’s “all human knowledge” claim has been sufficiently revealed as hypocritical to be discarded. One editor’s “non-notable” is another person’s substantial. Will Wikipedia die (of bloat, marketing or other problems) by 2010? How should I know?

I enjoy reading points of view like this. I personally believe that the secrecy surrounding Wikipedia's editorial processes is its weakest point; Crawford deals with this in his article, which I thoroughly enjoyed.


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