Thu 13th May 2010, 7:55pm
QUOTE(dogbiscuit @ Wed 12th May 2010, 11:01am)
QUOTE(Sxeptomaniac @ Wed 12th May 2010, 6:14pm)
I would question what things that should be can realistically be addressed? The internet is the internet, and there's little that can be done at this time to change that.
That is the eternal excuse of Wikipedia. The Internet is just a communication system and it is perfectly possible within the Internet to create sub-cultures, places, systems, that are not subject to the "inevitable" decline. If my insurance company puts its stuff on the Internet, is it a given that it will decline into offering pop culture rather than cover? Is it just me, or is it a delusion that I participate in civilised discussion boards elsewhere that adhere to real world standards of behaviour?
It is an easy cop out to say "it is the Internet, so it is broken" but it does not have to be that way.
Now, if you are saying, it's an ungoverned free for all, then I agree, but that is not synonymous with either the Internet or what Wikipedia could be.
I think you're expanding the scope of my comment way beyond my point. The point is, internet culture is going to be disproportionately biased towards the recent and controversial. Go to forums, blogs, or fan sites, and that's the kind of thing that will tend to be seen (of course there will always be some sites dedicated to particular topics, but they will not have the same level of representation overall).
Expand into the real world, and people will tend to be preoccupied with what is recent/controversial as well. That's what they will discuss around the water cooler, card table, dinner table, etc. There is no sane way for WP to change what is just going to always be the case, because it's human nature.
I wasn't talking about other behavioral issues as, while they are a general symptom of the internet, they can and have been addressed in realistic ways by many communities. WP has just failed to find its way to do so.
QUOTE(Peter Damian @ Thu 13th May 2010, 4:09am)
Why worry about things that can not be changed? Well, I do worry. WP seems to be driving conventional reference sources out of business. If it were just a big sack of trivia, with the conventional reference sources still around, that would not be so bad. It is the way that Wikipedia has bizarrely become a sort of gold standard in the public imagination, that is really disturbing. And worrying, of course.
And do we have to accept that it can't be changed? As we have discussed before, there are plenty of ways of destroying Wikipedia, although its own community seems to have worked out the best way of doing that, for itself.
I would disagree with a couple of things. For one, I wouldn't say that WP has become a "gold standard." I would argue that what makes it popular is not any perceived accuracy, but its quick and easy availability. While it is unfortunate that traditional encyclopedias have been struggling, I have to argue that they, in many ways, left the huge opening for WP to step in, and delayed too long in finding a way to compete. Given the general direction of the internet, it was a hole just waiting to be filled, and WP is what just happened to come along first.
There are issues on WP that concern me, particularly the frequent BLP issues. However, for pop culture articles to be disproportionately large, when compared to articles of true importance, is somewhat unfortunate, but I don't find it distressing. If both articles (but particularly the historical ones) are clear of any serious errors, provides enough information to at least cover what the average person might be looking for, and gives them directions to look for more info, that will probably have to be good enough.
As I stated above, people will be preoccupied with what is on their minds, and what is on their minds tends to be recent. For WP to try to balance the length of pop culture vs. truly historical articles would require fighting human nature. That's not something WP is likely to win. If it really needs to be addressed at all, it's way at the bottom of the list of WP's problems.