Wikipedia Plans to Verify Credentials

Posted on March 9, 2007. Filed under: News, Wikipedia |

A recent article in the NY Times reports that Jimbo Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has said that the online encyclopedia will begin to vet the credentials of contributors who claim to be experts. Contributions to Wikipedia can still be made anonymously, however. This is one decision that Wikipedia may in time regret. The decision will inevitably destroy the level playing field that has allowed Wikipedia to grow so quickly and to benefit from the expertise of its contributors, expertise that is often donated without credentials. Expertise should be judged on the quality of that individual’s contribution (and that means the rigor with which their work is documented and argued). Now those with credentials will be in a position to control the content and to impose their biases anonymousy on the basis of their degrees. If that does happen, then the growth of Wikipedia may slow, and its ability to incorporate many viewpoints may be crippled.

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  • Quotes of the Day

    "Writing editorials is like wetting your pants in a blue serge suit. It feels good, but nobody really notices."

    --Jack Germond

    "Famous men and women, by the act of putting themselves on display, whether as politicians, actors, writers, painters, musicians, restaurateurs, or whatever, invite public appraisal. They are all, impressively or pathetically, acting on the presumption that their ideas, their fantasies, their music, their bodies are more original than those of, say, a plumber or a certified public accountant. They are all exercising the impulse, as Mencken put it, ‘to flap their wings in public.’ This is so obvious to the critic–and, I believe, to the ordinary reader or spectator–that it seems hardly worth saying. But resentment of the practice of criticism itself is strong among professional artists (and all Presidents of the United States). There is a psychological type among them that hates critics on principle as parasites or failed performers. This is very natural but surely very childish and, in any country claiming to be civilized, actually anti-social. The existence of critics, good, bad, or indifferent, is a firm clause in the social contract between the governors and the governed in any nation that is not a dictatorship. Public figures should accept with good grace the public response to their invitations to be admired and resist the temptation to retort, except in the face of flagrant malice."

    --Alistair Cooke

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