[Foundation-l] Stategic planning : Sharing textbook knowledge

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Thu May 7 20:02:48 UTC 2009

On Thu, May 7, 2009 at 10:21 AM, Aryeh Gregor
<Simetrical+wikilist at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, May 6, 2009 at 8:13 PM, Platonides <Platonides at gmail.com> wrote:
>> You have a copy of wikipedia on your hard disk. You can access it.
>> But your computer lifetime is finite. And you also don't know for how
>> much time you'll still have electric current.
>> What do you do?
> Screw Wikipedia.  If I want to preserve useful knowledge, I'll make
> sure to safeguard my textbooks.  In terms of utility for rebuilding
> society, the value of Wikipedia is zero compared to even a tiny
> university library.  And there are many thousands of university
> libraries already conveniently scattered around the world, not a few
> of them in subbasements where they'll be resistant to nasty things
> happening on the surface.

Certainly not zero.  Perhaps 10%?  Neither textbooks nor wikipedia are
normally designed to give a total soup-to-nuts explanation of how to
do something.

But you're right that textbook-style knowledge is still relatively
cloistered, ununified / siloed by author, and poorly covered by
wikipedia/wikibooks.  If there are 10,000 essential textbooks, thats
only ~10x as much information as is in Wikipedia already.  How do we
effectively include that in Wikimedia's work?

I think that the "cheatsheet / overview / bootstrapping" version of
information about a topic is quite valuable and useful, and that few
people create such materials today [we don't have a good noun for that
kind of work, for instance].


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