Wiki Schmiki…What’s the big deal anyway?

A wiki is a website that enables any user to add new content and edit content of previous users. The idea of a collaboratively constructed body of information would seem to be a harmonious relationship between knowledge, more knowledge and a general consensus of facts. But wait, are we forgetting something? What of the evil and conniving ill-doers, such as…User3000 in Wikipedia? Muwahaha >:)

The Good

Well, I guess that just goes to show us that not all information added to a wiki is complete or accurate. However, the top contributor to Wikipedia takes his endeavour quite seriously. As a young University of Toronto graduate, Simon Pulsifer has made thousands of entries in the two years that he mostly devoted to his pastime. “The Wikipedia King” answers your questions in the Globe and Mail interview. Simon tells us of the strengths and guidelines of the system, but is there more?

The Bad

What are some of the weaknesses that make us question the validity of the body of work? Sources need references; information should be unbiased; coverage must be complete and accurate. There is always critical analysis of any new free, open and self-monitoring environment and here it is in Rough Type, by Nicholas Carr. Wikipedia can’t really be a wiki, if it operates in contradiction to its definition.

The Ugly?

The supposedly strict contribution guidelines for unbiased content, cited sources and peer-edited material must have missed a few entries along the way. Allow me to question the system, especially when the aliens are studying with Prof. Freebird and the elephant population is growing even as you read this. Wikipedia touts a Neutral Point of View (NPOV), but is all information presented in a balanced format, disclosing both sides, as the NPOV would suggest? Let’s ask the Liberal hopefuls watching Wikipedia for endorsements, over their morning coffee. I have a better idea.

The Fun…Theory Put into Practice A.K.A. Extra Marks!!!!

In the most scientific method of experimentation, learning this new online method through trial and error, with the true spirit of collaboration and knowing that public web writing counts for credit towards our final marks, we created this wiki. Don’t panic. There is no need for research, since we all have our own areas of knowledge. This is going to be a fun exercise.

This wiki is set up and you may add your contribution under your final website topic or under your discussion topic. If you like, you can create a new topic. Okay, all you tactile learners…this one is for you. I think we may even know a couple of people who can contribute tips on getting better grades in this class. I wonder if they will share their expertise. Just have a good time trying out the wiki format. It’s easy and I’ll be here to help you. (Please do not remove another person’s contribution and make sure you sign your nickname under your writing for credit.) Together, over this week, we will compile an Online Reading and Writing wiki…the ORaWiki. Let’s see what we can create. I know it’s going to be awesome.


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