I’ve been a fervent supporter of Wikipedia and the idea of collaborative content creation, and I still am. But lately I’ve been trying to get out of the “echo chamber” and consume some alternative viewpoints regarding the things I hold dear. (I’ve even been spending some time at Instapudit lately…) The discussions over at Lessig Blog about what should be free led me to “The Great Failure of Wikipedia” by Jason Scott, which, to put it mildly, offers a contrarian point of view:
This is what the inherent failure of wikipedia is. It’s that there’s a small set of content generators, a massive amount of wonks and twiddlers, and then a heaping amount of procedural whackjobs. And the mass of triddlers and procedural whackjobs means that the content generators stop being so and have to become content defenders. Woe be that your take on things is off from the majority. Even if you can prove something, you’re now in the situation that anybody can change it. And while that’s all great in a happy-go-lucky flower shower sort of way, it’s when you realize that the people who are going to change it could have absolutely no experience with the subject whatsoever, then you see where we are.
Now I know he comes at this from a content creation point of view vs. the content consumption relationship that most of us have with Wikipedia. But it’s an interesting read, one that has certainly got me thinking about my own somewhat euphoric view.