August 5, 2005
Editorial rules to be enforced on Wikipedia?
Reuters reports that the founders of Wikipedia are considering measures that will tighten up the editorial process in an effort to prevent "vandalism of its content."
"There may soon be so-called stable contents. In this case, we'd freeze the pages whose quality is undisputed."
Hmmmm . . . the concept of 'stability,' especially when applied to knowledge and information, can be preeeeetty slippery. The article does discuss the idea of creating a 'commission' that would be charged with deciding when entries should be frozen, and thereby bringing forth a less top-heavy approach to deciding on stability than could otherwise be chosen. In addition to its collaborative nature, one of the most promising and exciting aspects of Wikipedia is (IMHO) the fluidity afforded to the information that lives there. Wikipedia is a model for an alternative representation of how thoughts, ideas and facts are constructed and disseminated, and moves away from the concept of capital 'K' knowledge (though this is also precisely what many folks object to). How do we know when a 'fact' is stable and when its fate should be sealed in perpetuity? How do you know that a given definition or explanation is undisputed? That's a tough call, and I'd love to learn more about how Wikipedia plans to resolve that very issue, because to me it flies in the face of the very fundamentals of what Wikipedia represented to me.