Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chapter 4 Wikipedia

I thought the section Transparency on Wikipedia Pages was very interesting; I did not even know Wikipedia had this feature until now. Professor Levinson seems to find fault or has an issue with the fact that transparency only extends to pages and not readers/editors. I do not think this is a big deal. It is far more important to have transparency for the actual page/text because I feel this way if someone doesn't agree with something they saw on the page or they think a fact that is listed is wrong, they can see what was previously on the page. If what they thought was the correct information had been edited or deleted it could lead this user/editor/viewer to investigate the real truth. It is more important to patrol the content than the users.

I thought the study Wikipedia Vs. Britannica yielded very interesting results. I wonder if five years later and with the amazing growth of Wikipedia how a study like this would go. I'd also love to see if the inaccuracies change between different disciplines.

This does not necessarily have to do with the book but it was my first experience with Wikipedia. Before this experience, and then reading this chapter, I always though Wikipedia was never patrolled. I thought anyone could add whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Over the summer I worked at a PR firm and one of my tasks for the day was to create a Wikipedia page for one of our clients. I did so but got an email shortly after telling me it had been taken down because it was too subjective and glorified the company. They basically told me it was an editorial column. This struggle happened a few more times until I cut out most of my information and stuck completely to the facts. This was eye-opening for me because it showed that there is a filter on the material going onto the site.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing that anecdote, it's an excellent example of how Wikipedia mixes some gatekeeping in with its crowdsourcing. And what is particularly good about its transparency is that it is much harder to lose sight of the fact that the entries are written by human beings, not some authority on high.