Tuesday, September 20, 2005

About Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a site intended to let anyone write and edit any article. Some of you might not know what it is, but Wikipedia's statistics are very interesting. Here are some statistics. It is a powerful example of collaboration.

“It was doomed to fail, because communities can't be created by editorial structures - editorial structures must be created by communities.” LA Times.

“This is a classic failing of old school media thinking. Sure, folks could build on top of the Times' editorials, but then again, why would they? The reason folks build stuff is to build it together, and to do that, they have to know one another, have a shared set of mores, have a conversation that is already going.

A far better approach would have been to create a platform for readers to create their own communities. Leaders will emerge, voices will break out, and conversations will get started. Then the community itself will have a sense of ownership of the media, and begin to moderate out the trolls. It's one thing for the LA Times to kill the trolls - that feels like censorship. It's another for the community itself to do it.” Caterina Fake, founder Flickr.

I love Wikipedia. I think is great and they have done a tremendous job. But I think they've lost track on how the collaboration can be better handled. I realize is no easy task, but they are showing us through practice at least how to start doing it. What I mean is you'll understand something when you learn a theory and then practice it. Relying only on editorial experts telling us what is valid will not be useful in the long run. A platform where everybody can voice their understanding and experience will. I can imagine following the same principle of being able to edit and posting your definition of a word, but instead of having a few individuals rejecting it without proper analysis, having many people read it and voting for the definition they understand the most will promote the best definitions. Then you could reach a consensus by the thousands, and not by just a handful of people. The most voted (Comprehensive) would make it to the top.


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