As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has some issues. As a model of how and where distributed intellect fails, it's almost shockingly comprehensive.
When we were first considering making Epic Legends Of The Hierarchs available as a publically manageable satirical metanarrative, we dropped the basic timeline on Wikipedia because I liked the way their software went about things. Of course, a phalanx of pedants leapt into action almost immediately to scour - from the sacred corpus of their data - our revolting fancruft.
That's okay with me. I wasn't aware they thought they were making a real encyclopedia for big people at the time, and if I had, I'd have sought out one of the many other free solutions. I had seen the unbelievably detailed He-Man and Pokémon entries and assumed - like any rational person would - that Pokémaniacs were largely at the rudder of the institution.
I am almost certain that - while they prune their deep mine of trivia - they believe themselves to be engaged in the unfolding of humanity's Greatest Working.
Reponses to criticism of Wikipedia go something like this: the first is usually a paean to that pure democracy which is the project's noble fundament. If I don't like it, why don't I go edit it myself? To which I reply: because I don't have time to babysit the Internet. Hardly anyone does. If they do, it isn't exactly a compliment.
Any persistent idiot can obliterate your contributions. The fact of the matter is that all sources of information are not of equal value, and I don't know how or when it became impolitic to suggest it. In opposition to the spirit of Wikipedia, I believe there is such a thing as expertise.
The second response is: the collaborative nature of the apparatus means that the right data tends to emerge, ultimately, even if there is turmoil temporarily as dichotomous viewpoints violently intersect. To which I reply: that does not inspire confidence. In fact, it makes the whole effort even more ridiculous. What you've proposed is a kind of quantum encyclopedia, where genuine data both exists and doesn't exist depending on the precise moment I rely upon your discordant fucking mob for my information.
i'm not sorry if i do detest you
December 16, 2005