Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ The Fate of Expertise After Wikipedia

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Oh, that's a very nice turn Larry Sanger provides in his essay The Fate of Expertise after Wikipedia. Here's the punch-line: "The quality of a given Wikipedia article will do a random walk around the highest level of quality permitted by the most persistent and aggressive people who follow an article." We can understand the words, but what does it mean? Track back into the essay and find this account of Wikipedia's success: the idea, that Wikipedia is matching expert knowledge and hence rendering experts unnecessary is actually explained by the observation that Wikipedia achieves its success by tracking expert opinion. We see this in Wikipedia's 'verifiability policy,' which holds that "material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation." But this expertise, he argues, must also apply to the editing and selection of articles, otherwise, "the know-nothings can drive off the know-somethings in the inevitably many content disputes..." But let's suppose that this is true (and I am quite willing to agree that it is, for a variety of reasons). Is expert supervision the right response? Or is it that Wikipedia had the right idea, wrongly implemented? Via The Wired Campus.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 13, 2024 12:43 a.m.

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