Tuesday, September 20, 2011

David Warlick on Wikipedia

I just want to start off by commenting on the way David Warlick presents these "findings" on the Web to the adults at this 2008 Conference. They are small errors in his language, but young ears pick up on them instantly. Case in point: Warlick incorrectly refers to them both as 'Digg News' and 'The Wikipedia.' Yuck. Am I in Bizarro World?!
How he knew to use the term 'Twitterverse' is beyond me.

It seems to me that these Web 2.0-based sites like Digg or Wikipedia can be easily misunderstood by an older generation and have changed drastically since 2008. Three years may not seem like a large amount of time, but both Digg and Wikipedia are entirely different species now.  The commercialism and trend of lowbrow sites present in 2011 have plagued news aggregate sites, and any problems or fears over Wikipedia are--and should be--gone. In short, Digg has sunk into the bowels of Internet Hell (all hail Reddit!) and Wikipedia has risen to be that shining white Knight of Righteousness.

The only finger-wagging I ever received over Wikipedia is waaay back in the mid-'00s when the news broke that there was an "editable encyclopedia" online. This must have scared teachers, for the fear that any yahoo could erroneously edit an article and the misinformation would spread from there. The example given to us was George W. Bush's Wikipedia page that had trolls reentering wrong information on purpose. This. is. not. the. case. anymore. I am so glad that David Warlick realizes this and puts the audience on the spot.

Wikipedia, in my eyes, has always been that wonder source. Something literally will not be allowed unless it is cited and is agreed upon. Otherwise, it is deleted. I don't know where the hoax started on Wikipedia being a site to not be trusted. This is becoming more of a rant than I wanted, but it infuriates me when the hammer comes down on the ever-reliable Wikipedia. It doesn't deserve that kind of stigma!

When it comes to teaching and learning, Wikipedia, like Warlick mentions, are giving practice to "basic literacy skills." If not for these ever-changing (that's a good thing) Web 2.0 arenas, there might not even be that outlet for students to even have. This video clip did not change my opinion on Wikipedia because I have loved it since I first heard about it in 2004. My feelings were validated, but I wish only more so. Maybe if this video was from 2011. I'm certain that I have learned more information from Wikipedia much more than I can say for the entire number of articles I've ever read online. One cannot simply "teach" with Wikipedia, but it is our greatest source of information in this already overflowing world of the Web.

It turns out that Othello can definitely become more interesting when people are given the basic information on which they can build and morph into their own product. It shows that sites like Wikipedia are only the beginning of the process of learning.

People should not be afraid that content and info. is out in the open for even the lowliest of beings; instead people should be glad that it even exists and has been collected in the first place.

Until next time!


  1. Max, we're very much on the same page about Wikipedia. I didn't catch the wording errors that you said, but honestly I had a hard time hearing bits of it because of the quality of the video. However, that reminds me of that politician who said "You can follow me on the Tweeter." It cracked me up and I like to randomly say it whenever Twitter comes up.

  2. I relaly like your views on wikipedia. I think it is far more credible than people give it credit for.