The Longest Now

Thursday March 06th 2008, 10:21 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Even Encyclopaedia Dramatica couldn’t have scripted the past week’s drama around Wikipedia, its supporting Foundation, and many of its prominent promoters.

Danny Wool penned a few blog posts I find in outrageously poor taste, not to mention bad faith. Valleywag gave JW the star treatment, including paying for dirt, which I suppose is final vindication of his being a part of pop culture… which I usually wish the ‘wag wasn’t. Surprisingly, a half-dozen major media outlets followed suit.

Jimmy gets bonus points for going out of his way to address the only matter of true significance to a Wikipedian : whether the standard of neutrality upheld by the project and its core community was compromised by even a hair. The moment that any traditional media or publishing source devotes half this attention to neutrality, I will subscribe instantly and dedicate a week to honoring them.

The community of editors has been dealing with all of this remarkably well; as with every previous drama I can recall, it is robust to such troubles, since 90% of contributors don’t know or care about such things.  (A few more tweaks to its infrastructure, and it could be robust to any calamity or change.)

Slashdot came up with some good posts on the subject…
(on the success of the open community model) … It doesn’t matter… the only thing that matters is the positive contribution he made by founding Wikipedia and his later life or his personal details don’t effect that.   It is like science, it doesn’t matter who comes up with the evidence or the theory to explain it. The only thing that matters whether it’s correct or not.  – abeautifulmind
Love is doomed to fail because men are stupid and women are crazy. — Groening

But in the end, I am left wondering (as usual) why our culture encourages us to be distracted by trivia at so many levels.   That is something that WP is directly rooting out in the realm of verifiable essays… perhaps we can reconsider how to get the same spirit to infect other areas of life as well.

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