Wikipedia: we really haute to know better

Evidence is building that Nicholas Carr’s argument against peer-production of knowledge by amateurs is dead-on.

Today’s Guardian rounds up a panel of experts to score the wikipedia entries against their deep domain knowledge in their somewhat-pointedly-titled “Can you trust Wikipedia”

It’s broadly good news for the free, open and amateur with scores in the 6’s and 7’s out of 10, with one 5 for the article on ‘encyclopedias’ as judged by an ex-editor of the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Could the harnessing of “collective intelligence” not just be the wishful thinking of venerable west-coast technohippies, but something that could help humankind out of the beginnings of what may turn out to be it’s most difficult century, a.k.a. The Grim Meathook Future?

Maybe, maybe…

Until – we get to a 0 out of 10.

It’s from Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue:

“Broadly speaking, it’s inaccurate and unclear. It talks about haute couture and then lists a large number of ready-to-wear designers. As a very, very broad-sweep description there are a few correct facts included, but every value judgment it makes is wrong.”

We’re so HOSED!!!

0 comments
  1. Pingback: Tokyo Tales

  2. And of course, the Grauniad is assuming that experts know more than the masses anyway – Trevor takes issue with most of Kurlansky’s points. But they’re right about the quality of the writing. Those infinite monkeys never did have much of a sense of literary style.

  3. Victor said:

    What we’re still learning is that worse is better.
    http://www.dreamsongs.com/WIB.html

    Whether it’s LISP vs. UNIX, audiophiles vs. MP3s, or Encyclopedia Brittanica vs. Wikipedia, most of the time a fast and free resource will suffice.

  4. Piers said:

    but doesn’t every page start off life as a 0 out of 10?🙂

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  6. Simon said:

    If Ms Shulman is worried by the inaccurate insert in Wikipedia then instead of complaining she should correct it, after all isn’t that the point of it?

  7. Victor said:

    RE>but doesn’t every page start off life as a 0 out of 10?

    Right. And don’t wikipedia pages improve at a very rapid rate, much faster than Encyclopedia Brittanica pages? Maybe it’s just a (short) matter of time before wikipedia pulls ahead.

  8. maria said:

    hello bbjones.
    i am maria. we are setting up a meeting on art, culture and citizenship in the information society (http://www.netlach.org) in bilbao in november. we will also organize a warchalking and that´s how we found out about you! we would like to use some pics we found that might come from warchalking.org (but we are not sure as it seems to be offline). where can we find further information?
    anyway, great we got to know you.
    best regards.
    amateurs and proud.

  9. Jem said:

    Contrast wikipedia’s flurry of (sometimes to little effect it has to be said) activity with the rather more leisurely approach (see Private Eye this week) adopted by,let say the Grove Dictionary of Music whose editor posted this online a week or so back.
    “With this update, we have revised 100 articles based on information we received in response to a letter to our contributors, sent in April 2004. Another hundred responses are currently in the editorial process and will be appearing on the site over the next three months. ”
    April 2004!! Don’t hurry now fellas.

    Letter from the Editor

  10. Phil said:

    Maybe it’s just a (short) matter of time before wikipedia pulls ahead.

    Ah yes, the Network Quality Effect. It should be showing up any time… just about… *now*.

    Same time tomorrow?

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