Posted by D on May 16, 2007, 10:39 am, in reply to "Re: Mosquito Spray??"
Message modified by board administrator May 16, 2007, 11:40 am
Impressive research has been done by the posters on this. I for one am grateful for the links and summaries.|
I would also like take this opportunity to say a quick something about Wikipedia and another topic I have been studying lately which is the value of the collective voice surfacing on the Internet. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I want to let someone else say something. This is not to critisize Tim's source; I personally use Wikipedia on a constant basis, it is more to point out the growth patterns of the most amazing Internet. For those of you who do not understand the way Wikipedia works try this link http://en.wikipedia.org
This quote is from an article called "Digital Maoism"which is talking about the value (or lack of value) of the collective voice on the Internet. Here is the part about Wikipedia.
"The problem I am concerned with here is not the Wikipedia in itself. It's been criticized quite a lot, especially in the last year, but the Wikipedia is just one experiment that still has room to change and grow. At the very least it's a success at revealing what the online people with the most determination and time on their hands are thinking, and that's actually interesting information.
No, the problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it's now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn't make it any less dangerous.
There was a well-publicized study in Nature last year comparing the accuracy of the Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica. The results were a toss up, while there is a lingering debate about the validity of the study. The items selected for the comparison were just the sort that Wikipedia would do well on: Science topics that the collective at large doesn't care much about. "Kinetic isotope effect" or "Vesalius, Andreas" are examples of topics that make the Britannica hard to maintain, because it takes work to find the right authors to research and review a multitude of diverse topics. But they are perfect for the Wikipedia. There is little controversy around these items, plus the Net provides ready access to a reasonably small number of competent specialist graduate student types possessing the manic motivation of youth.
A core belief of the wiki world is that whatever problems exist in the wiki will be incrementally corrected as the process unfolds. This is analogous to the claims of Hyper-Libertarians who put infinite faith in a free market, or the Hyper-Lefties who are somehow able to sit through consensus decision-making processes. In all these cases, it seems to me that empirical evidence has yielded mixed results. Sometimes loosely structured collective activities yield continuous improvements and sometimes they don't. Often we don't live long enough to find out".
Interesting for you?
I still feel that the message board is one of the most useful inventions on the Internet for sharing information, absolutely magical in it's simplicity.
Adios for now.
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