Monday, December 05, 2005

The Death of Wiki

Let it be known that upon this date, the Wiki phenomenon has officially been deemed in American culture as untrustworthy. For while us technorats know Wikipedia and its other progenitors as holy, those casual technophobes are reading John Seigenthaler's article and accepting it as fact. The evidence of this death is that someone who wasn't even aware of Wikipedia until this morning proclaimed it as evil. The article appeared in the Hartford Courant this morning, and I can only imagine countless other news organizations.

Which leads me to believe that Wikipedia will begin its inevitable descent and eventually die. In order for a site of information to be useful, its users must trust it. The article has planted the seed of deception on Wikipedia.

Sad.

6 comments:

John said...

I thought you were tongue-in-cheek at first, but then you finished with a pretty firm cyber death certificate. Whoa. I think this type of controversy was inevitable, but I think the worst we're looking at is a change or die warning. I think Wiki's real crime is violating one of the Internet's most sacred trusts -- respond quickly. They failed big time in this respect and had better address this in a meaningful way or they'll eventually be dismissed. As for their vulnerability to bogus posts, that risk has always been there and I don't think it bothers most (young) users. I'll still turn to it for info on stuff too new or hip for tomes.

Brett said...

Yeah, you make a pretty solid point. I think perhaps I was referring to Wikipedia never really having a chance to be in the mainstream. It will always be a frige thing that people use. Also, when rules change on things that are cool like Wikipedia, bad things happen.

coturnix said...

I understand that they are now (starting today?) forcing users to register. First step....

Kim-the librarian said...

Caveat emptor...
Wikipedia is great for it's breath of knowledge on random things. When I wanted to know more about DS-9, for instance, it was a wealth of knowledge. And, hey, if there were mistakes, no harm no foul because it was for my personal edification. I hesitate before sending students there because Wikipedia is the internet writ small though with fewer pictures. Still, the same danger of getting bad information exists. If you care about the quality of your information, go somewhere else.

Put another way...some information is like milk--it sours quickly. Some is like crackers, dry and rather stable on the shelf. And some is like the boot-leg generic cookies your mom used to by instead of oreos--only good if the real stuff isn't around.

Papa Bill said...

If deliberate false reporting were to lead to the demise of the reporting vehicle, the Hartford Courant would have been gone years ago. At the urging of a local attorney who was suing me, the Courant printed a negative untruthful lead article on the front page of the Business section. I lost thousands of dollars and an employment opportunity. When faced with the truth, months later, the reporter unapologetically told me she acted on a "reliable source".
Predatory liars will always exist. Wikipedia will survive, just like the Courant.

Kim said...

I think this says it all

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/12/16