In the last few days, there's been a little bit of flaming over one Wikipedia editor calling into question the "notability" of some very prominent search experts. The editor was eventually convinced of the mistake in his position. But I'm going to rescue a comment from the above SearchEngineLand.com thread, by Danny Sullivan, since it encapsulates several aspects of Wikipedia which intrigue me:
I did see [the editors] comment that he was disappointed I didn't just add the material myself. Why would I do that? I'm not going to waste my time adding to a page that someone else might decide the next day to rip apart according to rules and a culture that frankly is anything but transparent.
I mean, it's difficult to know how the article was "nominated" in the first place. Then who exactly inspired the debate to kill it. And now that the vote has gone as it should, who made that vote? I mean, we were told it's not a voting thing but that there's a discussion, then I gather editors all make it happen. Where?
Wikipedia makes a lot about how open it is, but as an outsider, all I can say is that it feels very closed and difficult to know. It's riddled with acronyms and insider talk. I actually felt the comment about the ODP was pretty close to the mark.
I really do like Wikipedia as a resource. I use it all the time and find it remarkable at how helpful it is. But as I said, then you get something like this, and you just lose faith in it.
Let's count off the themes:
1) The fascinating way Wikipedia puts critics on the defensive - you should fix their errors, and WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THAT?
2) For a hive-mind, it sure has byzantine politics.
3) It's amazing how it has a popular image of an innovative anarchy, while in fact being simply a poorly-run bureaucracy where there's not a lot of accountability (these are not equivalent).
4) It's a lot less dazzling when you see the sausage being made.By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikipedia | on January 09, 2007 01:25 PM (Infothought permalink)