Wikipedia is becoming an increasingly useful resource for both personal and business research. This free and user supported encyclopedia covers a huge range of topics and even has entries for Claudia Imhoffâ€™s â€śexploding snakeâ€ť (see her blog), and also, not to be outdone by a snake, an entry on exploding whales.
The problem is that Wikipedia is also exploding with information. In December, the forum received 4.7 million edits from its users. As with any content management system, governance is a key issue. Without governance, there is no control over how information is published and maintained. There are stories about how competing companies are removing and editing each others entries in Wikipedia. The Washington Post reports that Capital Hill is playing WikiPolitics by polishing up and editing representatives and senators biographies and speeches. For a while, Wikipedia had to temporarily block certain Capital Hill Web addresses from altering entries.
On the positive side, Nature Magazine reports that Wikipediaâ€™s accuracy on science-related articles is similar to that of Encyclopedia Britannica. Perhaps this has to do with the April 1, 2005 news story about Encyclopedia Britannica buying the Wikimedia Foundation!
The bottom line is that as Web sites like Wikipedia and Google grow in volume, it will be close to impossible to govern them. As Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central says â€śitâ€™s all about truthiness.â€ť
Posted February 9, 2006 4:09 PM
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