Feeds

Farewell, Wikipedia?

Bogus boy's departure puts trivia at risk

Security for virtualized datacentres

Where I find Wikipedia useful — and huge areas can be discarded as heresay, tedious arguments between pedants — is when some monomanic fan has lovingly assembled a list derived from his (or her, but it's usually a him) area of expertise — and then fiercely defended that turf.

That's sort of what we had with the Usenet FAQs, round about 1995 or 1996, if you want to look at the glass half full. They were often better written, better organized, and free of the banalities of prose that only committee-editing can generate: a kind of pseudo-authoritative waffle that is Wikipedia's hallmark.

In other words, we're just about back to where we started — and that's the really scary thought.

So we can chuck away all the nonsense about "democratization of knowledge", and "new forms of production", and similar such drivel offered by the eggheads of Web 2.0 — and conclude that after millions of man hours effort, human volunteers can't do a much better job than the algorithms, either.

History has its precedents, where human sacrifice prevailed: Stalin may have defeated Hitler by throwing 20 million bodies at the oncoming armies of the Reich, but no amount of volunteer Wikipedians will make the web "better", by any measure, than it was a decade ago when no one used it.

We're really back to square one.

Maybe this time, we can forget about such utopian dreams as an "information revolution", and get some real information professionals involved, such as librarians and editors, to earn their keep. Maybe we can rid ourselves of the illusion that "everyone talking at once" will generate some kind of wisdom, when all Google and Wikipedia have demonstrated is that it's a giant Tower of Babel. Everyone's talking alright, but there's nothing worth listening to.

One character who's laughing all the way to the bank, though, is Wales himself. Having exhausted the expendable (and unpaid) human labour creating Wikipedia, his stealth project Wikia is set to cream the profits. Wikia already boasts three times the referrals Wikipedia ever had, and finally Jimbo has a success story to take back to his old bond trader pals.

More on this — which is the real deception behind the great Wikipedia adventure — in our next bulletin. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.