Daniel P.B.Smith wrote:
A weak point of Wikipedia is that people write
about what they are
interested in, so given several topics of apparently comparable
importance, the length, depth, and quality of the articles may differ
This is true. This is called "Systematic bias":
This largely escapes notice in the web edition,
but will become much
more apparent in a print edition.
Is that really so bad, though? I'm sure most people will understand. :)
To get the language right, it is a "systemic" bias rather than a
"systematic" one. "Systematic" would imply a wilfull application of
bias in an organized way. No Wikipedially aware person is suggesting that.
The quality of articles is extremely variable. Many articles are
clearly incomplete, and I blame myself for that as much as anybody else.
In the electronic medium we can afford to leave something undone, and
leave it for someone else to complete, or maybe come back to finish it
next year. If you do that in a print edition it will magnify the
amateurishness of the effort. We are all here as amateurs, but we also
all want the print edition to be a source of pride in several different
Using the "Medicine" topic to illustrate this was very good. We would
do irreperable harm to the credibility of Wikipedia if we rushed into
the creation of medical specialty articles just for the sake of making
sure that we had something on them.
We can't expect the outsider who has just picked up a copy of the print
edition to understand what has led to the article selection. From his
perspective, it's not his problem.