Monday, April 17, 2006

Authority and Legistamacy of the Wikipedia

A client made a comment on the blocking of the Wikipedia by the Chinese government. I replied, that was not as bad as blocking Google (which did happened, and it was believed that Baidu was the culprit).

By all means, Wikipedia has become such an important factor in everyday life, that I had throw my other versions of encyclopedias away. I was not concerned a bit over user vandalism because Wiki has build-in machinism to combat that effectively. However, it emerged that another kind of abuse could be very hard to prevent. That is, the vandalism conducted by the administrators.

In the case of the deletion of 'Jerry Taylor', not only the Wiki page, but also the discussion history were deleted. This is not acceptable, but people who are looking for information on Jerry could see the sign of deletion notice hanging there, and get a sense of not being totally lost. This is bad, but not the worst.

The worst nightmare came true in a related page, the wikipedia entry for the city of 'Tuttle Oklahoma', there was a paragraph of the neologism 'tuttled'. That paragraph was vaporized without a trace. Nothing in the history discussion, and no record in the article history to be tracked. A group of people can make administrative decisions as specified in the rules of wikipedia. However, the very decision should not include wiping out every trace of the decision itself as well as the decision making process.

The legitimacy of the wikipedia is built on the clearly cut rules and the theory of wit of mass. The wiping out of trace of 'tuttled' shows the administration of the project has no confidence in the mass, and that they think they can play the mass as it calls necessary.

1 comment:

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