K. Peachey wrote:
Just a Heads Up slashdot has new article about
wikipedia up and it's
use of experts - "The Role of Experts In Wikipedia"
Sanger says the main reason that Wikipedia's articles are as good as
is that they are edited by knowledgeable people to whom
deference is paid, although voluntarily, but that some articles suffer
precisely because there are so many aggressive people who 'guard'
articles and drive off others (PDF), including people more expert than
The good articles are good basically because smart people take the
trouble to research them and write them to a decent standard. The
article on topic X is good, when it is, not usually because A, an expert
on X, has filled it with A's expert knowledge, but because B and C and
maybe others have looked at some literature on the topic and done a
decent job of constructing a precis for the general reader. I would make
an exception for some areas (e.g. mathematics, medicine) where an expert
is going to have a view that is 1000% clearer than someone coming in
from outside. The bit about "deference" shows a fixation on the more
combative aspects of WP. Most articles aren't that contentious.
'Without granting experts any authority to overrule
such people, there
is no reason to think that Wikipedia'a articles are on a
continual improvement,' writes Sanger.
No reason for Sanger to think that, since he continually misses the
point of the wiki. Most articles, numerically speaking, just wait until
someone who cares comes along and upgrades them.
Wikipedia's success cannot be explained by its
or its rejection of expert involvement, but instead by its
openness, and bottom-up management and there is no doubt that many
experts would, if left to their own devices, dismantle the openness that
drives the success of Wikipedia.
Yeah, we know about such experts, but they are not experts _on
Wikipedia_! How about a little respect for the expertise of people who
spend time doing it, rather than talking about it?
'But the failure to take seriously the suggestion
of any role of
experts can only be considered a failure of imagination,' writes
'One need only ask what an open, bottom-up system with a role for expert
decision-making would be like.'
In other words, despite all appearances, CZ is superior to WP. Well, I
think we saw where this was going a little earlier.
The brass neck involved in implying that WP is "unimaginative", which is
largely wrong, rather than too utopian, which is certainly an arguable
point, is breath-taking. A propos FR, or other such things, there has
been this constant debate in which the "pure wiki" model is held up
against what amount to pragmatic suggestions for change in aid of the
encyclopedic mission. This discussion goes on all the time.