is part of a larger research assignment for the masters of media course in amsterdam, where new (and old) media are critically researched, viewed and responded on. Besides a theoretical approach, a very important part of this course is to also to ‘field research’; active generation and involvement in the new media landscape.
Currently, the ‘truth-value’ of wikipedia is researched. Where does knowlegde here come from, and who writes it? is it really the emergent ‘wisdom of the crowd’ or is it just a few nerds editing on everything? By creating semi-false, but true-linked wikipedia entries, one can find out how and how fast articles are checked, re-edited or discarded and, moreover, on what grounds and authority?
Despite the many pro’s and con’s on wikipedia form mainly the academic world (saying its truth-value is worthless, or at least inadequate), it is out there and used widely. The fear exists that knowledge in this way becomes ‘flat’ and can hold back science and knowledge spreading by creating a web of ‘read-believe’. On the other hand one might say that, even if most wikipedias are not your fully-grown academic research, it does get read a lot, spreading a web of common knowledge that may, in my opinion, raise the average of this common knowledge to a wide range of different cultures.
The two different wikipedia entries also represent another thing i am curious at: if localized wikipedia respond with the same speed and in the same manner? The dutch wiki-entry is about a new word, the first is about a dutch event. The first description is true, only some minor ‘fact-bending’ is done. The new-word entry could be true, but is hard to verify (or falsify).
In just one day the results are the following:
In contrast to my expectations, my dutch entry was removed within a day (while my English entry was only asked to be categorized), due to the following reason: “considered work in progress”, verdicted by a certain ArnaudH (a not-even-moderator from wikipedia, with which we as MoM students have encountered more problems these days). See this link for the whole comment.
To not enter the discussion of truth-value within wikipedia, the point I do want to stress out is that a) apparently, ‘local’ wikipedia is checked much sooner than the ‘international’ English part and b) that if so, it is ‘moderated’ by such few people, that one can almost speak of a dictatorialization of knowledge on a local scale; of deciding what is ‘good for wiki’.
Both point are heavily contrasting the goal of Wikipedia, being open, international ‘emergence’ of knowledge. Interested next step would be to check whether the Dutch moderators verify their comments and deleting-of-entries with their larger (thus probably more balanced) English counterpart.