Wikipedia, a reliable source?
June 1, 2004 3:03 PM   Subscribe

Wikipedia as Participatory Journalism: Reliable Sources? (pdf file) From the 5th international Symposium on Online Journalism comes this rather interesting analysis of the Wikipedia both as a news source and as a living draft of history. A surprisingly readable article.
posted by Grod (9 comments total)
Also from the Symposium: When the Audience is the Producer: The Art of the Collaborative Weblog

"Collaborative group weblogs, which rely on the participation of tens of thousands of members for their content, are often cited as a format of journalism that is new and untapped. In the English language, the most popular and respected practitioners of this format are MetaFilter, Plastic, Kuro5hin, and Slashdot. This paper analyzes these four weblogs to determine how each balances audience freedoms and administrative control in their efforts to increase participation and interactivity without chaos."
posted by homunculus at 4:09 PM on June 1, 2004

I tend to cite liberally from Wikipedia. I find that hyperlinking certain terms and phrases to those references can disambiguate a conversation that might otherwise derail into semantics. If my interlocutor has an issue with the reference they can not only respond to my statement directly but they can modify the existing article and make their point of view known in an environment subject to intense peer review. If there isn't an article available on a subject that I'd like to make reference to I generally write one, or at least a stub.

I see Wikipedia as being similar to the normal peer review process in academia... the process just happens to have been enormously accelerated through the application of appropriate technology. Some of my articles have now been altered beyond recognition and as far as I can recall they've all been improved enormously by other contributors. Even where I've had to re-edit certain additions for style or to better fit the site's guidelines the contribution of new perspectives is what is really important.
posted by snarfodox at 5:24 PM on June 1, 2004

google's html (for those of you too lazy to do it yourself)
posted by mrgrimm at 6:02 PM on June 1, 2004

The dailyKos community is trying to do something like this--for left wing American political journalism in particular--at the recently launched yet constantly updated dKosopedia wiki. [disclaimer: I'm a dKos member, but haven't even registered an account for the dKosopedia, let alone written for it]
posted by jbrjake at 6:19 PM on June 1, 2004

dKospedia: because biased encyclopedias are obviously better.
posted by reklaw at 7:06 PM on June 1, 2004

Also from the Symposium: When the Audience is the Producer: The Art of the Collaborative Weblog

In which it is backhandedly implied that I am a tool of the oppressor, oddly enough.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:39 PM on June 1, 2004

Awesome, thanks grod.
posted by kavasa at 9:54 PM on June 1, 2004

reklaw: dKospedia: because biased encyclopedias are obviously better.

Actually, I would dispute Wikipedia's non-bias claims. Certainly, for non-controversial issues Wikipedia is fairly neutral, but for controversial issues, especially those on the fringes it becomes a totally different story.

Take for example, the article entitled 'Gay disease'. Yep, an article actually entitled 'Gay disease'. And the least said about 'Homosexuality and morality' the better, to be honest. These articles remain in wikipedia, despite efforts to make them more neutral, because agenda-driven 'issue monsters' sit on top of them, reverting any alterations that do not agree with their own view of 'neutrality'.

To be honest, I'd rather trust the Encyclopedia Britannica any day of the week.
posted by axon at 2:10 AM on June 2, 2004

dKospedia: because biased encyclopedias are obviously better.

I was under the impression that the Wikipedia project encouraged others to take advantage of Wiki's open source software for projects that aren't intended to be unbiased, catholic encylopedias.

I never said the dKosopedia is better. I went out of my way to note that it's a niche wiki with my qualifying adjectives. Can you, reklaw, explain why, as an experiment in collaborative journalism to both provide news and act as a living draft of (a very particular) history while being based on reliable sourcing, dKosopedia isn't a germane topic for this post?

Do you really think an unbiased political encylopedia is feasible, let alone possible? How would you deal with partisans on both sides editing entries contrary to their views?

I'm really amazed at your snark and vitriol. All I did was provide a link to a project that was more than tangentially related to the FPP.

If nothing else, can you at least see why an overtly partisan wiki of political journalism would be useful for oppo research and to affect news coverage? That it has value, even though its functions differ from those of the Wikipedia?
posted by jbrjake at 9:09 PM on June 2, 2004

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