[Foundation-l] Is popularity a good thing for us?

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen cimonavaro at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 01:24:14 UTC 2007

On 12/16/07, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:

> So. Plus and minus points of popularity?

<picking one of the minuses>

> - Mass popularity reruits volunteers from closer to the bottom of the
> barrel.

On the plus side of this coin is we get a much *broader* range of
subjects from which we can accept volunteers interested in them.

I'll pick an example from several decades past, just so I don't step
on any currently hot topic issues, and there is less of a danger of
discussion being diverted from the larger issue.

Some decades past it would have been very difficult for serious
encyclopedias to get highly qualified academics to write on womens
studies subjects, simply because there were none. So what they did
was write about the general subject, such as womens movement and
the different varieties of feminism, but wouldn't have had any way
of writing about the broader issues, without severely lowering the bar
for *formal* qualifications they required of their contributors.

Since the barrier for entry is lower on wikipedia, we are unlikely to
have lacunae on subjects that are only now pushing through to
becoming subjects of serious study in academia. This is a continuing
*first mover* advantage we have on encyclopaedic coverage of
such subjects. I won't point out which subjects they currently are
on wikipedia, as I don't think it would serve anything other than
useless fingerpointing and arguments about inclusion.

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]

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