The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #87860   Message #1712613
Posted By: semi-submersible
07-Apr-06 - 01:24 PM
Thread Name: BS: Wikipediaists?
Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
Of course it's unreliable! Like human knowledge, it's never complete. But unlike other information sources I use:
1) it's easy to find what I need, if it's there.
2) if it's wrong or missing, I can do something about it.

What's really exciting is that to contribute to Wikipedia, one doesn't first have to achieve mastery in one's field, second, produce an authoritative book or paper, third, find a publisher, then fourth, wait for the other authorities in the field to read and adopt one's contribution, before the public can begin to use it. I note that most information readily searchable by you or me has had to filter through this years-long elite-managed process. Either you consult the most recent reference books you can find on your subject, or you spend an extended period browsing over such articles as you can find on the topic, or (nowadays) you Google some likely phrases and wade through reams of unrelated slush in hopes of finding some - albeit unreliable - relevant information. But with Wikipedia, you don't need a degree or a publishing contract to add a footnote to history. You just have to have the patience to find words brief, clear, and accurate enough so that others familiar with the topic will not edit it out again.

The result (Wikipedia today, errors and all) proves that this powerful process does work.

And yes, like Mudcat, the Wikipedia is vulnerable to a serious disaster. More so if the running of it be left to a few volunteers equipped with used duct tape and baling wire.

I must admit I have contributed little, resource- or information-wise, to the Mudcat, and so far (under the name of Egmonster) proportionately less to Wikipedia. But I will. Not quite as easy to jump in, not as personable as the Mudcat, but Wikipedia has a wider scope, and better access for non-anglophones.

Bee-dubya-ell, that's a bummer; where were your banned Uncyclopedia articles?