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Don't Get Nauseous...

...from the spin. There is a cool new tool out that let's you see who is editing Wikipedia. It is actually pretty cool but what is more interesting is what people are doing on Wikipedia. The linked wired article has a list of the top voted best spins on Wikipedia.

For several years I have been a supporter of Wikipedia (and more recently a contributor). And as the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, overall I think as a project, it is going well. This latest article however proves one thing: Wikipedia is great for everything except real companies and real people.

If you want to read about the career of Lieutenant Colonel (soon to be Colonel) Samantha Carter, the more amazing medical feats of Doctor Gregory House or the finer points of polynomial interpolation, Wikipedia is actually a great source of information. You might even be surprised how fast articles regarding fiction get updated. The articles on math and engineering have mostly been very good from the ones Iíve read, some times a little too technical but still good.

It just fails when it comes to articles on real people and real companies. Why? I'm sure there are probably a dozen reasons but I think it mostly boils down to egos and public image. With an online encyclopedia that is continually being updated, anyone from around the world can read about anything or anyone and I think that is what the people who are whitewashing Wikipedia are afraid of. Instead of having to use social engineering to prevent unfavorable information from getting out in print, all they have to do is hit the edit button.

While the point of this post isn't to offer a solution to this problem, I did want to point out that Wikipedia can be a great source of information on topics in other areas such as books, movies, TV shows, math, engineering, etc. Not to say you should use Wikipedia as your only source when doing research but it can be a good starting point. And for casual information browsing, it can be quite helpful.

Posted on: Aug 14, 2007 at 5:13 pm - (0) comments.

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