5.12.2007

Why Wikipedia is a success

This isn't about Jimmy Wales' sex life. Sorry! It is about tearing down walls and rearranging furniture in a house that is growing at an ever-increasing rate.

The volume of information, particularly new information, is such that it can't be created, edited, or distributed in what people born prior to 1970 consider a normal way. If the Internet was not around, it would have to be created.

This isn't about paper or the movement of paper. It is organizational and it is about money. Paper output can keep up with scholarly output and it can be shelved, but can it be paid for and accessed?

Needing knowledge and finding appropriate knowledge is an increasing problem for people. The cost of access and the lack of authority is key.

My train of thought leads me to the possibility that Wikipedia has to be non-authoritarian because an editorial structure that guarantees objectivity is too heavy. Authority and trustworthiness may not be a part of Wikipedia's editorial function. I don't mean to say that there is a complete lack of it. I just think that the kind of ex-cathedra pronouncements Wikipedia's critics look for is not going to appear under any circumstances.

I expect that authority may be replaced by oversampling. Just as a Walkman oversamples a track to replace gaps, oversampling could play a role in building knowledge rules.

The Trinity. Scale, Trust, and Findability. Which is the greatest?

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