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The Wikipedia FAQK

by Lore Sjöberg

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What is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is a new paradigm in human discourse. It’s a place where anyone with a browser can go, pick a subject that interests them, and without even logging in, start an argument. In fact, Wikipedia is the largest and most comprehensive collection of arguments in human history, incorporating spats and vendettas on subjects ranging from Suleiman the Magnificent to Dan the Automator. As an unexpected side effect of being the perfect argument space, it’s also a pretty good place to find information about all the characters from Battlestar: Galactica.

Why do people talk about Wikipedia so much?

Wikipedia is such a powerful argument engine that it actually leaks out to the rest of the web, spontaneously forming meta-arguments about itself on any open message board.

Yes, but what is there to argue about?

Well, Wikipedia exists in a state of quantum significance flux. It’s simultaneously a shining, flawless collection of incontrovertible information, and a debased pile of meaningless words thrown together by uneducated lemurs with political agendas. It simply cannot exist in any state between these two extremes. You can test this yourself by expressing a reasonable opinion about the site in any public space. Whatever words you type, they will be interpreted by readers as supporting one of these two opposing views.

What should I know if I want to contribute to an argument nexus (or “article”) on Wikipedia?

It will help to familiarize yourself with some of the common terms used on Wikipedia:

meat puppet: A person who disagrees with you. non-notable: A subject you’re not interested in. vandalism: An edit you didn’t make. neutral point of view: Your point of view. consensus: A mythical state of utopian human evolution. Many scholars

…continue reading The Wikipedia FAQK