<CPOV> Ilmpedia

andrew.famiglietti at lcc.gatech.edu andrew.famiglietti at lcc.gatech.edu
Mon Jun 14 19:17:09 CEST 2010

Several points of interest to this thread: 

1. It is unlikely that these forks of Wikipedia will ever attract significant traffic. Larry Sanger's Citizendium, a fairly well-established parallel encyclopedia project, is ranked by Alexa as the 48,837th most visited website. Wikipedia is the 6th most visited website. Enciclopedia Libre Universal (EL), the product of the famous Spanish Fork of 2002, was outstripped in article production by the Spanish Wikipedia as of 2004. Wikipedia is in the top ten most visited websites in Mexico, Colombia, and Spain. EL does not appear in Alexa listings for the top 100 most visited Websites for these countries. Without traffic, a volunteer based project cannot attract volunteer labor, and thus cannot add and revise content. I wouldn't worry about fragmentation. 

2. The other concern, the silencing/marginalization of alternate Points of View by the presence of large, singular sites of content creation and distribution like Wikipedia, I agree is an important one. However, the history of Wikipedia and Wikipedia like projects shows a long list of failures to implement a "marketplace of ideas" model. GNUpedia, an attempt by the FSF to build its own encyclopedia in 2001, imploded after selecting a technologically ambitious plan to build a repository of texts users could filter by their own criteria. You can see its ambitious goals on its sad, dead homepage here: http://gne.sourceforge.net/eng/index.html Wikipedia users batted around plans to build similar "multiple stable versions" in the fall of 2001/spring 2002. None were ever implemented. 

3. The above suggests, to me, that the basic metaphor of the "marketplace of ideas," which assumes that individuals are capable of, or even interested in, acting on some intrinsic set of desires to select or build an individual "truth" based on multiple, competing texts is badly flawed. Instead, I believe that we see actors existing in communities, using cues from shared experiences and shared resources to resolve difficult problems of truth for them. In this sense, "battlefields" might be preferable to "marketplaces" as battlefields allow space for competing collectives to maneuver, clash, and sometimes even negotiate! What we might want to do is try to teach and spread the art of reading the battlefield. Wikipedia, especially, preserves a deep record of archeological evidence of the battles fought on its terrain... though it takes considerable skill to read this record. 

Just my thoughts. 

- Andy 

Andrew Famiglietti 
Brittain Fellow 
School of Literature, Communication, and Culture 
Georgia Institute of Technology 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Elad Wieder" <elad at wieder.co.il> 
To: "Juliana Brunello" <juliana at networkcultures.org> 
Cc: cpov at listcultures.org 
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2010 12:33:02 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern 
Subject: Re: <CPOV> Ilmpedia 

I doubt if merely interlinking several encyclopedias would do the job; I believe that the solution that evolved for offering the general public with different goods is a Market; in our case - a market for Points of View. 

Every market has fallacies and failures, and the design of a marketplace that will be both inviting for all kinds of ideas and approaches, while keeping balances and allowing all of them to co-exist is a very complicated challenge. 

Having that said, I would argue that the wiki platform is not suitable nor intended to serve as a marketplace; it is a tool for building content as a community, while people of different dogmatic PoVs we discussed can hardly be considered to be a community (they don't share essential common values, interest and goals - but competing ones). 

A more appropriate platform for a marketplace would allow each community to collaborate and build its content, while enabling and facilitating the public to compare and choose between such competeing PoVs of the different communities. Of course, a sophisticated marketplace would also allow the discourse and interlinking between such communities. 


On Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 18:25, Juliana Brunello < juliana at networkcultures.org > wrote: 

Hi Elad, 

this is so very true! But what can be done to stop 'fragmentation'? Should 
the content of several encyclopedias with different povs be interlinked? 
would that work? 


> One of the very apparent deficiencies of Wikipedia, inherent to choosing 
> wiki as the platform for building and encyclopedia, is that is does not 
> serve as a "market" for opinions or for PoVs; rather it is being used as a 
> battlefield for getting one's PoV to prevail: only one version of a 
> document/term is presented to the general public at each point in time. 
> One may say that ideally the version presented in Wikipedia should be 
> pluralistic so to represent different PoVs for each term/subject, but this 
> way of thinking by itself is very much a liberal PoV, biased by itself; it 
> can be argued on behalf of any dogmatic PoV (be it any of the religions or 
> dogmas like political stands etc.) that in order to "do justice" with its 
> arguments, the public should be able to observe its definitions (or 
> encyclopedic entries) in a holistic manner, not being digested and 
> compared 
> to other ideas on a "by paragraph" basis. 
> Because Wikipedia does not enable the presentation of parallel dogmatic 
> PoVs 
> to the general public in the same time, those who support other PoVs 
> (essentially, less pluralistic/liberal) are driven to come up with 
> separated encyclopedias. 
> The outcome, IMHO, is that dominant sectors would get tired from the 
> "battlefield" and thus from the dialog; the "pluralistic" Wikipedia will 
> either (1) be hijacked by a certain dogma, or (2) lack the contribution of 
> the "enthusiasts" who in turn will go to present their ideas on a 
> separate, 
> more supportive, stage. 
> Elad 
> On Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 17:04, Maja van der Velden 
> < majava at ifi.uio.no >wrote: 
>> Hi Juliana, 
>> I am traveling and i don't have much time. I find this an interesting 
>> topic. I am sorry i have to be brief in my reply. Maybe i misunderstand, 
>> but 
>> i understand in this context 'christianization' and 'western' as 
>> different 
>> from each other. I based my comment on the fact that there are christian 
>> websites, christian search engines, christian software releases (e.g. 
>> http://www.ubuntuce.com/ ) etc. that target people with Christian 
>> religious 
>> beliefs. 
>> In my CPOV presentation i proposed the idea of a distributed Wikipedia. 
>> I 
>> know that is understood as something else as the sites mentioned in your 
>> article. But i think we already have many POVs. Having your POV made 
>> invisible may do more harm. 
>> Greetings, 
>> Maja 
>> On Jun 14, 2010, at 3:47 PM, Juliana Brunello wrote: 
>> Hi Maja, 
>>> I don't believe we can speak of 'christianization of the web', but from 
>>> a 
>>> 'westernization'. Basically, the internet was born in the west and it 
>>> was 
>>> only natural for it to represent western views. I do praise diversity, 
>>> but 
>>> that was not my point. The question is, if separating povs - a chinese 
>>> encyclopedia, a muslim, a 'western' - that do not communicate with one 
>>> another. Will the definitions of reality of each nation be strengthen 
>>> and 
>>> cooperation and understanding among them be weakened? 
>>> Juliana 
>>> Hi Juliana, 
>>>> We can also speak of the 'christianization on the web' - but that 
>>>> trend does not seem to attract the same media coverage. 
>>>> About 'separatism': If 'western' is perceived as representative of the 
>>>> world, then, I guess you can call the move away 'separatism'. 
>>>> I find it sometimes more productive to look for the differences 
>>>> (diversity) within a system or category and the similarities across 
>>>> systems or categories. 
>>>> Greetings, 
>>>> Maja 
>>>> On Jun 14, 2010, at 2:39 PM, Juliana Brunello wrote: 
>>>> Islamicfacebook.com, NaqaTube, imhalal.com and now Ilmpedia. These 
>>>>> are all 
>>>>> Muslim sites based on well known 'western' social sites. Ilmpedia 
>>>>> will be 
>>>>> an encyclopedia based mostly on Islamic sources. The article linked 
>>>>> below 
>>>>> states that "websites like these are part of a growing trend of 
>>>>> Islamisation on the web". I ask myself, what the consequences of this 
>>>>> separatism from the 'western' websites are going to be. Will we have 
>>>>> more 
>>>>> information sources with different povs, so that we will be able to 
>>>>> form 
>>>>> our own opinions in a more balanced way; or will we have the 
>>>>> opposite, one 
>>>>> stream fighting the other and strengthening biased povs even more? I 
>>>>> wish 
>>>>> for the first, but I am not all too positive about it. 
>>>>> http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=244958 
>>>>> Juliana 
>>>>> Institute of Network Cultures 
>>>>> HvA Interactive Media 
>>>>> t: +31 (0)20 595 18 66 
>>>>> f: +31 (0)20 595 18 40 
>>>>> www.networkcultures.org 
>>>>> _______________________________________________ 
>>>>> Cpov_listcultures.org mailing list 
>>>>> Cpov_listcultures.org at p10.alfaservers.com 
>>>>> http://p10.alfaservers.com/mailman/listinfo/cpov_listcultures.org 
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