Wikipedia

Before this week’s subject of Wikipedia, I had no idea ‘wiki’ was an actual term (makes sense as to what is meant by the ‘Wiki’ tab on my Sakai page now).  After learning though that wiki is a tool in which allows multiple parties to contribute to the writing of a webpage, it is clear as to why so many of my elementary/high school teachers, and professors were, and still are completely against the use of Wikipedia as a source material.

 

After reading the article Questioning Wikipedia I began to question my elders though.  If truth of Wikipedia is a myth, why can it not be used as a reliable resource (Carr, p. 193)? I have personally always used it as starting point to inform myself on subjects I myself am not knowledgeable about.  For the most part too the information provided on Wikipedia never seemed to really clash with the claimed ‘more reliable’ resources.  I ran into a problem though, who are these editors of information?  Are these individuals really qualified to be providing information, deleting information, or editing information?

 

Now for me in regards to the inclustionist/deletionist debate, I would be more aligned with the deletionists. I feel to be a true Encyclopedia the knowledge needs to be neutral, with cold hard facts, and come from educated individuals that are knowledgeable on the subject they are writing about (Carr, p. 193). Wikipedia could incorporate the ‘wiki’ factor by having multiple educated individuals collaborate together to write the informative webpage.  I personally feel this is important; the general public should not be fed information that they will read as true despite being untrue.  I say this because I myself could become a Wikipedia user, and contribute but I personally do not feel I could provide quality, and/or concrete facts on a subject.

 

Even though I have aligned myself with the deletionists, inclusionists do have a fair point.  I do believe it is important to have multiple points of view, not just a neutral one.  Certain biases raise questions that the reader may have not thought of before hand; they allow the reader to critically think about the subject rather than just absorbing it.  Adding a comment section to the Wikipedia pages would allow all to collaborate, and could help readers develop their own beliefs/feelings towards a subject through multiple points of view.  Providing a comment section would also eliminate the illusion that there is democracy existing within Wikipedia, and the digital media culture.

 

As the weeks roll on during this course though, these illusions are becoming less, and less alarming, as they are so prominent.   The online world mirrors the offline world; the hierarchy has power, and control over the general public.  Obviously control has been an issue of concern in the offline world as in elementary school, and high school we often (or at least myself through the public education system) have learned about systems of control (ex. Communist governments); this raises the question should digital media control be a new topic in the education system?  It also raises the question that will history continue repeating itself, and will we allow these hierarchies continue having power over us?  When will the breaking point happen, or will it ever?

 

Carr, Nicholas. “ Questioning Wikipedia.” Critical Point of View: A Wikipedia Reader. Ed. Geert Lovink and Nathaniel Tkacz. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2011. 191-202.

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