If you haven’t by now heard of Wikipedia.org by now or, at least, checked it out, it’s about high time you did. I have never found something on the Internet to be so useful, practical, and relational than that of Wikipedia. Well, Internet Movie Database comes in somewhere not too far behind (they get props in that I’m a movie buff and all), but a movie database is not really going to provide much “practical” knowledge. But, I do know a hell of a lot more movie trivia now, so you’d be advised to keep me away from the pink categories when playing Trivial Pursuit.
I went off on a tangent there, but then that’s what the Wikipedia is all about. You go to look up something — even the most obscure stuff and 99% of time you’ll find something. When reading about a subject, you’ll be given a thousand (okay, well maybe not a thousand) links to other subjects directly or sometimes not so directly to other subjects. Sometimes a simple reference turns into an hour long study session. In that time you might have learned three or four things you didn’t know the previous day.
I think I heard it put best as…
I think perhaps Wikipedia is one of humanities greatest achievements.
… and, I have to agree, if not just to piss off FatKidd, who is highly suspect of its Wiki (Wiki carries it’s own definition — look it up!) nature. For some, the architecture is just too open. Anyone can add, edit, or modify the content of the “encyclopedia.” Yeah, you can imagine that with this being the case, there has to be a lot of false, inaccurate crap posted. Well, not really. For every one person that posts crap, another comes along and corrects and/or deletes it, so in the end, it all balances out. And, for a company/site with only 3 permanent employees, it really is a remarkable achievement. Check out the founder’s personal appeal and explanation of the site:
So, use it, support it, and see why it is becoming one of the most visited, talked about sites on the Net. And who said a combined effort from the people of the world couldn’t produce and organize something so successful and practical — and not have to be managed by some higher authority, other than themselves? Gives me signs that there’s hope for this world yet — maybe — it’s possible — kinda…
UPDATE – Jan. 20, 2006
As I said, Wikipedia can be one of the greatest resources or one of the best places to confuse, mislead, liable, or slander. It’s the people of the world that must police each other. There have been some good stories recently. Must share them (they told me it was good to “share” when I was young):
- Wikipedia Science 31% “less accurate” Than Britannica’s
- There’s No Wikipedia Entry for ‘Moral Responsibility’
- Wikipedia Editing Hobby Goes Nationwide — in England
So, pros, yes… cons, yes. Will evil ultimately triumph good — or visa versa? Who knows. But, it’ll be fun to watch. Research suggests that the site’s contect continues to just get worse and worse (as in more inaccurate) by the day. But, at present, Wikipedia sure beats the hell out of the ‘World Book Encyclopedia’ I had to use as a kid in the 80’s — even if it led me to have a few of my “facts” wrong on my “The Capital of Oklahoma: Oklahoma City” paper I turned in in 5th grade.
Guess it comes down to a personal choice. Use it, knowing you’ll need to confirm most of what you inquire about. Or don’t, and loose all that knowledge — good or bad — that you could have otherwise filled your brain’s gray cells with.