Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wikipedia FAQK

Lore Sjöberg has posted a humorous and insightful article on the Wired site. If you haven't got a clue what Wikipedia is, it will inform and amuse you, and if you know what it is, it will amuse and inform you.

Some excerpts:

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 of Wikipedian theology theorize that if consensus is ever reached, Wikipedia will spontaneously disappear.

Is it true that anyone can contribute?
Sure, Wikipedia is absolutely open to absolutely anyone contributing to absolutely anything! As long as you haven't been banned, or the article you're contributing to about hasn't been locked, or there isn't a group of people waiting to delete anything you write, or you don't make the same change more than three times in one day, or the subject of the article hasn't decided to send scary lawyer letters to Wikipedia, or you haven't pissed Jimbo Wales off real bad. It's all about freedom.

But why should I contribute to an article? I'm no expert.
That's fine. The Wikipedia philosophy can be summed up thusly: "Experts are scum." For some reason people who spend 40 years learning everything they can about, say, the Peloponnesian War -- and indeed, advancing the body of human knowledge -- get all pissy when their contributions are edited away by Randy in Boise who heard somewhere that sword-wielding skeletons were involved. And they get downright irate when asked politely to engage in discourse with Randy until the sword-skeleton theory can be incorporated into the article without passing judgment.

No comments: