The challenge of online content



The Open Source blog at zdnet has an article today on the Wikipedia. “Is Wikipedia a threat or a menace?” is the title… (which doesn’t give leeway for it to be a good thing I guess…) Anyway it raises an interesting point. Over the last few days there was a lot of press about (from the article above) “John Siegenthaler, a former Kennedy aide who found that his own entry falsely called him a suspect in his boss’ murder.” Now the Wikipedia is an online collaborated encyclopedia. Anyone can sign up and start editing whether it’s fact or not. There is a great responsibility to this…


But there’s great responsibility to ANY website as well, to do your best to present things factually. However many things are true “from a certain point of view” as they say. For a site like Wikipedia that aims to be a reference resource those different points of view, if they are rooted in fact, should at least be mentioned.

What this means too is that as a reader or consumer of information we need to think more critically about the information we absorb. Question the credibility of the source, did the article (if an encyclopedia article) seem to fairly treat both (several) points of view or is one point of view dismissed as kooky without refuting facts? Something about different points of view collaborating through a Wiki is that somewhere in there is the truth. One side usually moderates views on the other side of the debate and most of what I see at wikipedia is very well done.

We all ought to practice our critical reading/thinking skills though and be careful of believing everything we see, in spite of the fact that sites like Wikipedia work very well for this most of the time.

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