Wikipedia is a great place to look for a quick answer, but graduate students need to find credible sources for their papers. After all, graduate students are training to become credible sources in their fields.
The Economist published this article in the magazine’s Technology Quarterly supplement about Wikipedia’s editing policies. Two factions are battling for Wikipedia’s very soul:
- Inclusionists want Wikipedia to have articles about any and every topic, with even the most trivial details of real and fictional items;
- Deletionists want Wikipedia editors to exercise a more selective policy, which would require the deletion of many articles and trivial details.
A third moderate faction, the mergists, is seeking compromise. There are more details in the Wikipedia article on this inclusionism.
Nicholas Carr addressed this debate in his 5 September 2006 and and 8 September 2006 articles in his blog. Carr recommended “forking” Wikipedia into deletionist and inclusionist versions, which brings to mind visions of Unix. He also mentions the mergists and 18 other factions. Perhaps Monty Python should write a skit about Wikipedia.
This article by Nicholson Baker in the New York Review of Books has another perspective. Baker reviews Wikipedia: The Missing Manual, and Baker’s article is a long, funny look at how Wikipedia has evolved in the last 7 years.
Baker also includes a link to Reid Priedhorsky’s scholarly article on Wikipedia article creation and deletion.
- 27 January 2008: Authority and convenience
- 15 January 2008: Wikipedia is 7 years old today
- 6 December 2007: The Truth
- 7 December 2007: Wikipedia co-founder recasts his advice
- 24 November 2007: Citing Wikipedia
- 7 March 2007: Wikipedia promises to review writers and editors
- 7 March 2007: Fake professor stops editing on Wikipedia
- 24 January 2007: Microsoft wanted to pay for Wikipedia edits
- 24 January 2007: More thoughts on cheating, copyright and paraphrasing