Why I pay to support Wikipedia (but I don’t trust it) and so should you …

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The apparently contrarian title of this blog is designed to show why you should support Wikipedia because it is a new form of media which makes you think for yourselves and to trust no one but your own judgments ..

I have supported Wikipedia financially every year and I recommend you to do the same…

Much has been said about Wikipedia and how you cannot trust the material on Wikipedia and that it may change (and it does).

Anyone can ‘edit’ it and therefore it cannot be ‘trusted’…

Ironically, as I said in the title of the blog, I do not trust Wikipedia .. And nor should you. .. Instead you should trust youselves and treat Wikipedia as a starting point ..

Think about it…

If you cannot trust a source anyone can edit, then it implies that you should only trust a source that only a few can edit aka newspaper editors and others.

The same people who want you to trust in ‘someone else’ – are the ones who want you to abdicate your thinking to that other entity i.e. Religion, governments, society, your tribe or most importantly… Your newspaper.

Hence, the new forms of media are the ones who will provide you information and analysis from many different sources and leave you to make your own decisions. These media forms (ex Wikipedia and YouTube) are thus the starting point of your ‘fact finding’ about a topic…

They should be viewed as the first point of your investigations and not an end in itself. In contrast, the traditional media wants you to ‘trust’ their own point of view .. And hence to trust an editorial which is created by themselves.

See also Doc Searls perspective on What is right with Wikipedia which also links to wall street journal article about research which criticizes Wikipedia Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages

Link to donate to Wikipedia

You can post your stories of wikipedia HERE

Comments

  1. I like Wikipedia and would support it if I felt like they were running it in the interest of the general public, but the truth is that they’re not. As much as they’d like people to believe that anyone can make an edit, it’s really not the case. There are a small handful of people who spend their entire lives on the site making sure that any changes that people make get wiped out for a variety of reasons. The result is that instead of getting an informative post, you get an article that is heavily biased by whoever is willing to spend the most time policing it. You definitely have to think for yourself, but how useful is the site when any thinking that you share is obliterated in about 5 minutes? I don’t think that they need editors, but they do need a better way for people to defend the content that they removed from the trolls that hang out there. While in spirit the site is definitely worth donating too, I think their refusal to commercialize the site in any way has created this void. By allowing them to continue to operate on a support basis only, you may actually be making the problem worse. I would welcome the introduction of banner ads, if it meant that a couple of unbiased interns could start reviewing changes and adding a bit of independent thought to their articles.

  2. Ajit Jaokar says:

    Thanks Davis. I take your point. Thats why I also included the Doc Searls link(which in turn has links to other articles which talk of this problem). happy new year!

  3. I have donated $ to Wikipedia a number of years, w/ 2009 last time I did.
    I think Wikipedia has provided a wonderful service to people and people that continue to go back to it should donate.
    At the same time, I echo what Davis wrote above plus there is a serious issue w/ lack of credit/attribution. I *used* to contribute content to the mobile pages and stopped; for one, some of my content, which not that I’m biased, but was good/accurate, was either wiped out or changed in ways I found unacceptable, plus as I said, there was no clear way of adding attribution for the content/work/knowledge that was added.
    But perhaps things have changed from that angle and I should revisit the idea of contributing content.

  4. Ajit Jaokar says:

    very insightful comments Enrique and Davis. My
    view is as follows:
    I totally agree that the system needs to be revised – and there may even be a place for a new/ground up venture in this space .. however, the principle for me is: *** wikipedia is not the Internet. ***
    if someone wants to establish their expertise, a system like wikipedia should not be ** obligated ** to leverage that in their system.
    people should go to the open web(not wikipedia) and create a blog/twitter feed etc on their own so.
    the flaw here is: we are asking others to change their system (which is an enterprise albeit non profit).
    It is not the same as the open internet.
    Its a subtle difference but I do acknowledge that the wikipedia system could be improved kind rgds Ajit