I do a lot of Google searches, and for some odd reason, they often include search terms about Wikipedia.
Some only look at the first few results. I am not one of those people. Five pages of Google results into a recent search, I found The Encyclopedia of Alabama.
I muttered to myself, “Well dip me in chicken stew and take me to a fish fry!”
An online encyclopedia! What a concept!
It’s the sum of human knowledge about The Heart of Dixie!
I ran a few searches and poked around at its interface. Hey, an article about a prominent son of Huntsville…
Claire M. Wilson, Auburn University wrote:Huntsville native Jimmy Wales (1966- ) is the founder of the Internet Web site Wikipedia, a groundbreaking open-forum online encyclopedia, is president of Wikia, Inc., and is chair of the Wikimedia Foundation.
Well, that’s an interesting article in many ways. Note that a real, named person wrote that article. It’s true that she swallowed the ‘Jimbo as founder’ myth, but reading further, Larry Sanger’s role is mentioned prominently, and some critical views of Wikipedia’s arc.
She also happens to be the Senior Editor at Encyclopedia of Alabama. What are her qualifications?
Claire Wilson’s LinkedIn wrote:I have been a science and humanities editor and writer for more than 20 years and have worked on a wide variety of publication types, ranging from textbooks, to four-color magazines, to online media. My particular specialty is editing and working with scholarly, academic, and professional writing to make it accessible to a general audience.
Hey, Wikimedia Foundation! Remember that search for Sue Gardner’s successor?
“But can she understand Neutral Point of View?” the neckbeards mumble.
Here’s a bit from the Alabama article:
Rich in mineral wealth and flowing water, the state’s historic poverty cannot be attributed to lack of natural resources. Fiercely independent and resistant to outsiders, a portion of the state’s white population enslaved a population nearly its own size to promote plantation cotton cultivation and became fabulously wealthy in the process. The arrogance of that wealth factored into the decision to secede from the Union in 1861, with disastrous consequences. The death of perhaps a fifth of the prime-age white male population during the war, the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in capital with the emancipation of slaves, political control by a liberal outside power structure followed by the reinstitution of conservative white rule, and finally the establishment of a system of racial apartheid all shaped the state well into the twentieth century.
Try saying that in a country-western bar in Mobile some time.
Can we just wrap her up and give her a desk in San Francisco? Just abolish the position Sue Gardner holds, and call her Senior Editor. Of. An. Encyclopedia.
Image credit: Flickr/Max Wolfe ~ licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic