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January 11, 2005

Wikipedia - Fast, cheap, and out of control


John Gapper wrote about the rise of Wikipedia in his weekly Financial Times column last Thursday .

He noted that this experiment in communal publishing, started three years ago, now holds 441,000 articles in English.

He drilled down on the one big problem with Wikipedia, and wikis in general: anyone can write anything on any topic, without it being checked by experts.

The anti-elitist philosophy of the Wikipedia project means that no expert is guaranteed hegemony over an uninformed amateur.

Thus, there is no assurance that, even over time, truth will triumph.

In fact, some entries seem to deteriorate with successive revisions and additions.

Gapper wrote, "The combination of the internet and Wiki software is a disruptive technology: it allows Wikipedia's enthusiasts to produce something extremely cheap (free, in fact) and good enough to satisfy many people."

So how credible is the information you get from such a resource?

Depends on what you're looking for.


Gapper believes that if Wikipedia and wikis in general can get over their inherent anti-elitist bias enough to have information vetted properly, open source will swamp traditional bastions of reference and authority.

January 11, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink


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I think wikipedia should make an internet searchbar tool, similar to google's toolbar where you can type in whatever you are searching for right from your browser without having to first go to the wikipedia site and then search. I think as wikipedia grows increasingly popular, it will become almost as widely and frequently searched as google is.

Posted by: josh | May 21, 2006 12:14:50 AM

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