wikipedia accounts for 1 in 200 page views

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This quote comes from a fantastic article about Wikipedia in the NYT a few days back.…

It doesn’t just rehash the old “wikipedia has errors” / “wikipedia vs encyopedia britannica” angle but gives an indepth look at people who contribute to wikipedia and the overall culture, as well as making the interesting point that wikipedia is morphing into a kind of news hub.

It’s worth reading the whole article, but here’s a couple of my favourite extracts:

“Just as the Internet has accelerated most incarnations of what we mean by the word “information,” so it has sped up what we mean when we employ the very term “encyclopedia.” For centuries, an encyclopedia was synonymous with a fixed, archival idea about the retrievability of information from the past. But Wikipedia’s notion of the past has enlarged to include things that haven’t even stopped happening yet. Increasingly, it has become a go-to source not just for reference material but for real-time breaking news — to the point where, following the mass murder at Virginia Tech, one newspaper in Virginia praised Wikipedia as a crucial source of detailed information.”

“Wikipedia may not exactly be a font of truth, but it does go against the current of what has happened to the notion of truth. The easy global dissemination of, well, everything has generated a D.I.Y. culture of proud subjectivity… Wikipedians, most of them born in the information age, have tasked themselves with weeding that subjectivity not just out of one another’s discourse but also out of their own. They may not be able to do any actual reporting from their bedrooms or dorm rooms or hotel rooms, but they can police bias, and they do it with a passion that’s no less impressive for its occasional excess of piety. Who taught them this? It’s a mystery; but they are teaching it to one another.”

Image from Flickr CC thanks to anbar

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