Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Truth and Wikipedia

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Aug 26, 2006

Responding to: Danah Boyd asks, "Why is Wikipedia not using transitivity and saying that i'm notable because of my knowledge in a specific domain? Why does it matter more that i'm on TV than why I'm on TV?"

The answer is: because it's not a transitive relation.

To put it rhetorically: would Danah Boyd be notable were she *not* on TV? It is much less likely.

Being on TV is part and parcel of being notable these days, and the reasons why somebody is on TV are more or less irrelevant.

After all - Paris Hilton is on TV, and has her Wikipedia article. The same with Simon Crowell. The same with William Hung.

Wikipedia's sensitivity to what constitutes the 'truth' is remarkable, and rather more sensitive that than of most observers. It is something that will take getting used to.

(p.s. I capitalize 'Danah Boyd' because I capitalize names. Same with E.E. Cummings. She is quite free to refer to herself in lower case, and if I quote her directly, I will not change her capitalization. But for here: my comment, my rules.)

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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