<CPOV> What dismays me

Lichty, Patrick plichty at colum.edu
Tue Mar 16 13:44:33 CET 2010

Well, in my presentation, I am goign to talk abotu the idea of a wiki-based community in general.
Wikimediae communities, although anarchic media, create emergent hegemonies which then create strange power concentrations, inversions, etc.
In many ways, they allow for ad hoc cliques to build massive cultural scaffolds and then become organizations, which, as I'm reading "The Coming Insurrenction", are in themselves problems.
I believe that there are only cosmetic differences between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Dramatica.  We can say that one is surelylarger than the other, but in many ways, the premise, infrastructure, etc are similar, it ie merely that the mission is different, and that is basically it.  From that initial condition, you have what Keen would call "the enlightened amateur" calling the shots, or trolls, in the case of ED, or art-trolls like Kildall and Stern (kidding, as this is what Jessie Wales called them) in the case of Wikipedia Art.

I ask a bit of forgiveness in regards to the fact that i will be looking at Wiki-based communities as such and their relationship to filtering and cultural curation in general,a nd not Wikipedia specifically.  It's more of a radical analysis of the genre.

Patrick Lichty
Assit. Professor
Dept of Interactive Arts & media
Columbia College, Chicago
916/1000 S. Wabash Ave #104
Chicago, IL USA
"Better to Die on Your Feet Than to Live On Your Knees"
From: cpov-bounces at listcultures.org [cpov-bounces at listcultures.org] On Behalf Of Dror Kamir [dqamir at bezeqint.net]
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2010 10:27 AM
To: Gregory Kohs
Cc: cpov at listcultures.org
Subject: Re: <CPOV> What dismays me

Sorry if I'm repeating some things already mentioned, I couldn't
thoroughly read the entire correspondence due to heavy workload. I had
an interesting experience in en-wp recently that made me very concerned
for the following reasons:

1. Wikipedia has become a complicated scene of bureaucracy. The
bureaucracy is so cumbersome that it too often entails arbitrary policy
or rulings with regard to the content and the status of users. Gaming
with the system for political purposes while using the cumbersome
bureaucracy is also very common. Currently, Wikipedia's bureaucratic
system resembles a third-world country's tax administration. Just like
interested cunning people with connections in the right places manage to
pay less taxes in such administrations, interested cunning contributors
to Wikipedia can impose their opinionated content by gaming with the
bureaucratic system. Since Wikipedia has become the leading site in
disseminating information, and its content has become the basis of so
many other websites, the number of such interested cunning contributors
is rising rapidly.

2. Wikipedia is becoming a monopoly. I am waiting eagerly for a
competing project, as I am quite afraid of Wikipedia becoming the modern
Oracle from Delphi. Paradoxically, the free-content approach works
against pluralism of knowledge (pluralism in the sense that various
angles of the information are available), because many people prefer
taking the ready-made content of Wikipedia rather than start a new
project altogether.

3. Wikipedia has brought the concept of "Verifiability" ad absurdum.
Common sense judgments about what is and what is not are rejected as
unsourced while absurd opinions are regarded as facts because someone
dug deep enough to find an article that mentioned this opinion. Also,
determining what constitutes a reliable source and what doesn't is often

a back-door from which biasness is introduced. You may not be "POVized"
but if you know your way in Wikipedia, you can push a certain source,
convince people to reject another, and have the content as you like it.

To be honest, I recently feel that Wikipedia has become the plant from
"Little Shop of Horrors" (to make a slight overstatement). It simply
grew too fast and became too popular, and got entangled in its own
success. The problem is that this entanglement influences so many people...

Dror K

ציטוט Gregory Kohs:

> What concerns me most right now about Wikipedia and other free,
> open-source resources on the Internet, is that they seem to be driving
> out of business those traditional news- and information-gathering
> businesses that (we would hope) employ content generators who have
> undergone training, have experience, and know better how to synthesize
> data in meaningful ways.  Ironically, it is these traditional sources
> (newspapers, magazines, academic journals, etc.) that entities like
> Wikipedia purportedly rely on for "reliability" in their own content
> regurgitation.
> If we follow this path to its bitter end, and there are no more
> traditional newspapers, magazines, and academic journals... (they
> having all been driven to extinction by free, open-source,
> crowdsourcing miracles)... what will Wikipedia then use to verify that
> its knowledge is in fact "knowledge"?
> "The only source of knowledge is experience."  -- Albert Einstein.

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