All Hail the Information Triumvirate?

I’ve commented before about the danger of the rising importance of and reliance upon Wikipedia as a reference. Nicholas Carr paints an even darker picture concerning the confluence of three factors, including WP (HT: Tim Lacy).

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  1. Also Newsweek did a story on their online version about the problem with quick fixes. On Tuesday after Ted Kennedy had passed out during the inaugural lunch, someone updated Wikipedia to say that he had died. Such ease and speed of fixes causes quite a problem. They also noted how the webmaster at updated the website at 12:01 saying “moments ago President Obama took the oath of office” when he did not take it until 12:05. Such a flub was only a tiny thing but according to the article demonstrates the danger of quick fixes on the internet.

  2. There is also another little-known fact about Web searches: If you want to get to be the first Web site that pops up for someone using a search engine you have to pay for it. Now, Google will deny that all the way to the bank (heh), but back room deals get made. Recently, any interrogation of WikiPedia was accompanied by a plea from the “web encyclopedia’s” founder for donations. Is it too much of a stretch to see the relationship here?

    BTW, the fact that information about an historical event, a person, a product, etc. can be changed on the fly (and *does* get changed rapidly on WikiPedia) should not only make everyone suspect of the contents, but give them sober cause to remember the Ministry of Truth described in Orwell’s 1984 … except, of course, that Orwell envisioned a painstaking process that involved cutting-and-pasting in order to rewrite the annals of history; it happens so rapidly in our electronic media-based society that even Orwell would be shocked. I worry that our less discerning off-spring will never be able to figure out facts from fiction.

  3. But anonymous authorship is a mark of humility. Ask the Watchtower concerning the translators of the New World Translation. Wierdly enough, JW’s are very controlling of information sources.

  4. I still like Wikipedia. I have gotten some good information on things like the nutritional content of food, research done on peanut butter by the USDA and more. All of these things have had references which I have checked and found true. But that cannot be said of everything on Wikipedia.

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