Saturday, April 07, 2007

 

An essay worth reading

A link on the Community Portal led me to Durova's essay "The dark side".

She makes her point quite simply:
If you're getting ideas to bend Wikipedia for your own purposes then you are almost certainly devising plots that I have read many times before. And if you follow through on those ideas you will leave a trail of mistakes that is very familiar to a wikisleuth. Plenty of users before you thought the same tricks would be foolproof. People like me foil those plots all the time. We even have our own slang for the tactics. Attempts to manipulate this site rarely stay in the live version very long, but those edits do get archived in site histories. That should make you stop and think. Some people who've tried to exploit this site have ended up very sorry that they acted rashly.

There are a few points in her essay that need further discussion -- but I just drove home from Seattle and I'm too tired to do more than to tell folks to read her essay, and promise I'll write some comments about it in the near future.

Geoff

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Comments:
It's a nice essay :-)

Most of the stuff people do bad is in good faith. Edits that you or I might think "ridiculous conflict of interest"; external links to their own lovely sites; "the truth" rather than NPOV; etc.

Most of this is just not getting it, and a simple word of explanation is probably the best first move. This should be noted at the top of the essay; without it, the rest will be taken by idjits^W the unenculturated n00b as background from which to assume bad faith.

Also (not sure of relevance): every obvious criticism anyone's ever had of Wikipedia, and of wikis in general, is in fact true and happens all the time - we've just learnt to deal with it in the normal course of things.

This essay could also be thought of as "Why not to be a dick.
 
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