Friday, March 23, 2007

I've been Wikified

I've been a long time user of Wikipedia and its Orthodox counterpart, the Orthodox Wiki. I realize of course the limitations of using an open source encyclopedia, and I have at times been irritated by some of the misinformation I have seen in some articles on Wikipedia. Recently, Andrew Keen, commented about Wikipedia (Newsweek 3/26 p.16), that it was "no more reliable than the output of a million monkeys banging away at their typewriters." While I agree that one has to be cautious with what you read on Wikipedia, and realize that it is not on the same level as a more traditional encyclopedia, the fact remains that it is widely used... and very often, the information is quite good. One just has to learn to be discriminating, and to develop an eye for texts that are not supported by references or sufficient evidence. There is in fact a review process on Wikipedia, and generally speaking, the people who do the reviewing do know what they are talking about in the given area that they work on.

Rather than curse the occasional darkness one finds in Wikipedia articles, I have started working on editing and composing them myself. I have long been attracted to the possibilities of hyper-lined texts, as you can see in my Icon FAQ article. Footnotes are great, but being able to link to entire articles that are immediately accessible is a wonderful advantage of online articles.

I would encourage others to give it a try. It is not as difficult to do as you might think.