[iDC] Wikinomics and Wikimania

Guido Sohne guido at sohne.net
Mon Aug 27 11:25:47 UTC 2007

On 8/24/07, adam hyde <adam at xs4all.nl> wrote:
> Lawrence Liangs presentation about the 'authority of knowledge' was a
> highlight for me on the first day. He spoke about how wikipedia could
> learn from the demise of manuscript culture at the birth of the print
> age. As I understand it at the start of the print age, printed books
> were considered as the most recent release of a body of work, and
> updating these works and feeding into the content cycle of a book was
> common. As an example Liang used Chaucers Canterbury Tales. The works
> were updated by many people and were living breathing entities, however
> when he died the works became his canon and were considered in some way
> 'frozen' by the academics. Any edit of the text after his death was seen
> as producing a defective edition. So the 'authoritative' point (the
> canonisation of Chaucer by Academics) killed off the participatory
> culture surrounding his texts. Liang was pointing this issue at
> Wikipedia and the debate surrounding how Wikipedia might be striving to
> attain an analogous 'authoritative' position. His point, I think, is
> that the pursuit of wikipedia towards being an 'authoritative knowledge
> object' is less interesting (and potentially troublesome as it may deter
> contributions) than the methodology for creating knowledge that
> wikipedia has established.

I agree completely with your assessment here. I added something to
Wikipedia, regarding something in Ghana, an area where they have very
little content and no one contributing from that location. My
experience with random people coming up and stamping their feet over
their pet peeves led me to withdraw from further content addition. The
focus on being authoritative (to compete with encyclopedias) and the
incessant demands to reedit contributed content really turned me off.
I don't feel like writing anything any more and I am certain those
'critics' won't step in to fill the gap for Ghana or West Africa since
they probably have little to no knowledge about what is on the ground

-- G.

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