Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thing #17 Rethinking Wikis

Some years ago I found the site Bullets and Beer, devoted to Robert B. Parker, and his main character, Spenser. I loved this site; it listed all of the books, gave brief little synopses of the books, it was a wonderful site. I took everything on this site as fact; figured anyone who had put so much effort into creating must know what he (yes, I assumed anyone that much in love with the Spenser character must be a man) was talking about.

My first impression of Wikipedia was skeptical; who knew who was posting what, and for what reasons? However, that was before examining Wikipedia. I'm still a little suspicious; Wikipedia spends an awful lot of time citing different articles that also appear within Wikipedia, and that always makes me suspicious. I would prefer it if a source cites someone other than herself when proving her point, but of course, the different article in Wikipedia isn't the same source, it's just "published" (disseminated seems a more appropriate term) by the same resource. But the resources listed at the end of each Wikipedia entry are marvelous, and very imformative. If I just wanted to give people a place to start researching, I'm not sure I'd tell them to read the Wikipedia article, but I might suggest that they start looking at the sources Wikipedia lists.

I then went to the Wikipedia on Internet Filters, or "Content Control Software" as Wikipedia calls it. I didn't think I could add anything to the entry, but it did need some proper citations. I spent more than 15 minutes trying to figure out how I could edit the citations in the entry. Wikipedia's citation method is so basic that it's counterintuitive to those of use who learned citation standards in school (at least, that's my opinion).

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