Sunday, September 30, 2007


Edit wars: an afterthought

Getting quoted in the LA Times definitely put a spike in my traffic. Unfortunately, I didn't know which one of the many topics I want to write about to write about -- so instead, I focussed my attention on improving a couple of Wikipedia articles: Tekle Giyorgis I of Ethiopia and 1868 Expedition to Abyssinia. I guess my stage fright is rooted in the knowledge that anyone can edit Wikipedia and is left with an impression about the project -- this sincere and heart-felt comment is one such example (the anonymous comment, not Kelly's post) -- but not anyone do it in a productive way. So rather than writing long, overly-rhetorical essays about how people should contribute, I guess I'm more comfortable just trying to do what I say.

However, there is one important thing after all this that I believe we need to keep in mind: talk about encyclopedia vs. community concerning Wikipedia is at best nonsensical, and at worst distracting from diagnosis of the real problems. We need both, because they support the project in different ways. I think of the encyclopedia element, what is being created, is like bone and the community, the group that creates it, like soft tissue: each supports the other, each protects the other, and one without the other will lead to the death of both.


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This discussion may be of interest to you:

Jossi, that is an interesting thread, but I don't understand what your point is by mentioning it here. Please explain.

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