Monday, June 19, 2006

Wikipedia controversy? No matter how you look at it, the product is what matters

The New York Times was the latest to weigh in on whether Wikipedia's use of editors (they call them administrators) and exempting certain articles from free editing violates the "wisdom of crowds" vision that Wikipedia was founded on.

To me, that criticism is beside the point. How about the product itself?

Is it useful? 1.2 million entries, many times that of any conventional encyclopedia.

Is it accurate? According to the journal Nature, roughly as accurate as the Encyclopedia Brittanica (an assertion bitterly contested by Brittanica).

Easy to use? As long as you've got an internet connection, it's easy as pie.

If the answers to the above three questions remains the same, the vast majority of Wikipedia users will have the following response to criticisms of the site's purity as a social experiment: "Who cares?"

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