tungwaiyip.info

home

about me

links

Blog

< November 2004 >
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930    

past articles »

Click for San Francisco, California Forecast

San Francisco, USA

 

Former Britannica Editor on Wikipedia

Former Britannica Editor Robert McHenry has an article on Wikipedia titled The Faith-Based Encyclopedia. I was hoping that he will make some valuable critique on the Wikipedia project. Unfortunately the article is mostly him trashing the Wikipedia, labeling it as faith-based (dictionary definition of faith: Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence) and comparing using Wikipedia as going to public restroom. It is much like hearing Bill Gates dismissing Linux.

The one example he based his attack on is an article on Alexander Hamilton, especially an inaccuracy regarding the uncertainty of his birth year. To be honest I think he is just nitpicking on the two years difference. It may matter to an historian but to me I got fair amount of basic information despite this subtle issue. First lesson, in the age of information glut, critical reading is an essential skill. Not that I would trust Britannica or other professional journalist completely as they too are human who can make mistakes. Set you trust base on the background of the author. Expect error and disagreements.

So I went to Wikipedia to see the article for myself and I came out with quite different impression. The inaccuracy he raised is addressed by volunteers on the same day. I think he should be really impressed. Wikipedia also keep a list of mistakes in Britannica. I wonder how long it would take for them to be addressed. More interestingly this highlighted a new idea, that articles are no longer a static, completed work but always a work in progress.

Then I checked the change history. One thing I appreciate about Wiki is its transparency. Every change is commented. It shows active participation from multiple individuals. They maybe not be in full agreement, but they do know what they are talking about. It is not quite the sloppy image Robert tried to project.

Many editors also posted their profile. See a few of them who has contributed to this article

Taxman
I've been reading everything I could get my hands on since the age of 5...

Decumanus (Matthew Trump)
A U.S. physicist, computer consultant and ex-New Yorker...

R. fiend
I'm just a guy with too much free time on my hands...
(sounds self-deprecating for someone who has contributed over 50 articles)

These sounds like fairly intelligent individuals to me. And that's what so revolutionary about Wiki. It networks many bright people and facilitate them to work toward a common goal. Wikipedia is one great example of solid achievement.

As of Robert McHenry, I would said he is really behind times.

2004.11.17 comments

 

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

past articles »

 

BBC News

 

Raqqa: IS 'capital' falls to US-backed Syrian forces (17 Oct 2017)

 

Catalonia: Spain detains two separatists (17 Oct 2017)

 

The Hollywood women tackling sexual harassment (17 Oct 2017)

 

Malta journalist death: Caruana Galizia's son denounces "mafia state" (17 Oct 2017)

 

Portugal fires: Three days of national mourning for wildfire victims (17 Oct 2017)

 

Kirkuk: Iraqi forces seize largest oilfields near city (17 Oct 2017)

 

China congress: Why Beijing has banned hot air balloons (16 Oct 2017)

 

Philippine conflict: Duterte says Marawi is militant-free (17 Oct 2017)

 

'Anne Frank' children's costume sparks controversy (17 Oct 2017)

 

Tucson, Arizona, trailer fire 'caused by spider burning' (17 Oct 2017)

more »

 

SF Gate

 

Bay Area News (7 Jan 2012)

 

City Insider (11 Feb 2012)

 

Crime Scene (13 Feb 2012)

 

C.W Newius Column (10 Jan 2012)

 

C.W. Nevius Blog (11 Feb 2012)

 

Education News (10 Jan 2012)

 

KALW (11 Feb 2012)

 

Matier and Ross Blog (11 Feb 2012)

 

California man cited for flying drone over airport, impeding firefighters (16 Oct 2017)

 

Court to rule on forcing tech firms to provide data held abroad (16 Oct 2017)

 

Fed’s Yellen says the economy remains in good health (16 Oct 2017)

 

After the smoke clears: Wine Country economy expected to rebound (15 Oct 2017)

 

Updated: Where fire victims can apply for tax relief and FEMA grants and loans (14 Oct 2017)

 

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promises tougher stance on abusive tweets (14 Oct 2017)

more »

 


Site feed Updated: 2017-Oct-17 06:00