Wikiality vs. Reality


With the advent of Wikis and Wikipedia, there has been a shift in how information is gathered and who gathers it. With Wikipedia, anyone can contribute information about a certain topic. What implications does this have on society? Essentially, everyone has a voice and an outlet in which to express that voice. This digital media provides a virtual marketplace where ideas can be exchanged and edited until the group reaches a consensus. This consensus, sometimes referred to as Wikiality, is the reality about a topic reached by contributors on Wikipedia.


Should we trust Wikipedia or an expert-led encyclopedia more? To be honest, I am not sure about Wikipedia. I grew up before Wikipedia and before the Internet gained popularity; as typewriters began to fade away, and computers became the word processor of choice. The idea of Wikipedia is great. I envision it as a place where people can gain incite about little known topics. Eventually, there could be a Wikipedia article about every person, place and thing in the world. There is a problem, however, when the information provided to Wikipedia has little or no factual basis. I guess that is where truthiness comes into play.


Speaking of truthiness…this deviation from reality is not limited to the digital world. When thinking about other examples of this concept, movies like Wag the Dog and Shooter come to mind. In these movies, the government created alternate realities to support its agenda. Although these are movies, some might say that the government often creates varied versions of the truth. For instance, in the YouTube video, 911 Loose Change, the author exposes the contradictory stories of people who were there, the government and the media. Although this does not expose the truth, it does show the amount of inconsistencies in the controversy surrounding 9/11. This, furthermore, proves my belief that the truth lies somewhere in between all the hype.


How could Wikipedia be better set up to better provide accuracy? To provide better accuracy, Wikipedia could be monitored for factual base by the organization’s staff. There could be some kind of checks and balances as with expert-led encyclopedias. This could prove to be a very daunting task, when considering the possibility of the sheer number of topics and the increasing popularity of the site. This might be more feasible once Google digitizes all written word. I guess we might have to hold on to our chairs until that happens!


Should it be open to everyone or just “experts”? Wikipedia should not be just open to “experts.” That would ruin the business model and quite frankly, stifle its appeal. Furthermore, everyone is an expert in something, even if that something is just himself. Would you feel comfortable with someone else telling your story? I know I wouldn’t!


2 Responses to “Wikiality vs. Reality”

  1. Shannon Says:

    I agree and like your projection that there could eventually be a “Wikipedia article about every person, place and thing in the world.” It almost reminds me of a local neighborhood blockwatch where everyone knows everyone, the members of the community meet regularly and they both promote and police their own neighborhoods. Wikipedia to me is the online version of your neighborhood blockwatch providing quick responses to whatever is being discussed, posted, or deleted in their own community.

  2. […] – bookmarked by 3 members originally found by rajooda on 2008-08-19 Wikiality vs. Reality – bookmarked by 4 […]

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