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Tycho / on Fri, Dec 16 2005 at 7:58 am

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I Have The Power

As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has some issues.  As a model of how and where distributed intellect fails, it’s almost shockingly comprehensive. 

When we were first considering making Epic Legends Of The Hierarchs available as a publically manageable satirical metanarrative, we dropped the basic timeline on Wikipedia because I liked the way their software went about things.  Of course, a phalanx of pedants leapt into action almost immediately to scour - from the sacred corpus of their data - our revolting fancruft

That’s okay with me.  I wasn’t aware they thought they were making a real encyclopedia for big people at the time, and if I had, I’d have sought out one of the many other free solutions.  I had seen the unbelievably detailed He-Man and Pokémon entries and assumed - like any rational person would - that Pokémaniacs were largely at the rudder of the institution.

I am almost certain that - while they prune their deep mine of trivia - they believe themselves to be engaged in the unfolding of humanity’s Greatest Working. 

Reponses to criticism of Wikipedia go something like this:  the first is usually a paean to that pure democracy which is the project’s noble fundament.  If I don’t like it, why don’t I go edit it myself?  To which I reply:  because I don’t have time to babysit the Internet.   Hardly anyone does.  If they do, it isn’t exactly a compliment. 

Any persistent idiot can obliterate your contributions.  The fact of the matter is that all sources of information are not of equal value, and I don’t know how or when it became impolitic to suggest it.  In opposition to the spirit of Wikipedia, I believe there is such a thing as expertise.

The second response is:  the collaborative nature of the apparatus means that the right data tends to emerge, ultimately, even if there is turmoil temporarily as dichotomous viewpoints violently intersect.  To which I reply:  that does not inspire confidence.  In fact, it makes the whole effort even more ridiculous.  What you’ve proposed is a kind of quantum encyclopedia, where genuine data both exists and doesn’t exist depending on the precise moment I rely upon your discordant fucking mob for my information.

(CW)TB out.

i’m not sorry if i do detest you


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