by the Masked Maggot
I saw something today that reminded me that we Wikipedia critics should remember something: the vast majority of the volunteers who write the encyclopedia-article-like pages are in general just good people interested in learning and sharing knowledge. Here’s what I saw (an excerpt from this):
When asked by people why I contribute to Wikipedia my response is not based on altruism (a useful side product), but on pragmatic utility. Wikipedia functions as a “magic notebook”: when I come across an interesting fact which I would like to remember, Wikipedia offers an extension to my natural faculties. I can record the fact, along with any appropriate reference, on the relevant Wikipedia page. I can even start a page where no page existed before. And I don’t even have to remember where I made the note. If I have put in suitable links from broader topic pages, I can use the links to find my way back to the information I recorded. But that’s not all. I often find that others have contributed more information. The seed I planted has grown, has been watered by many hands. My knowledge expands. And in time I have become part of a global community that shares my interest in learning. That is a public good which is very far from being “nothing”. Thanks Fabian aka Leutha
That’s pretty much what Wikipedia is at its best, both for the contributor and for the reader. Geeks like me geeking out and writing Wikipedia articles about the things we geek on. That’s why there are thousands of articles about comic book characters, Pokemon, Dr. Who, Star Trek, minor celebrities, and yes, porn stars too. Crowdsourcing is great when the people writing the articles all agree about the subject being of interest and of being just awesome.
It doesn’t work so well for serious subjects (see last week’s post), but I’ll refrain from bitching about that this week… we do that all the time and you people never seem to listen. Just try to remember that most of Wikipedia’s authors are just enthusiasts of one sort or another, and we respect them for that. While we criticize the players, predators, hangers-on, circus barkers, snake-oil salesmen, and just plain leeches that are ruining it for everybody, we still respect the real enthusiasts.
So happy 2015. Hopefully Wikipedia will, well, nevermind. And we maggots in the den wish the real Wikipedians an especially happy 2015. Don’t worry, we’ll put up a real blog post soon.
|Image credits: Wikimedia Commons|