That’s it. I hereby give up on Wikipedia. It’s doomed.
What did it was their article on Kibo. Right there at the top is a notice that says:
This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article.What half-educated stuffed shirt came up with that dictum? I worked for years as a literary criticism reference series editor without once hearing about yon “formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article.” The editors in our department weren’t slangy—it wouldn’t have been proper—but Wikipedia’s current article about Kibo would have been well within our standards. It’s certainly better written than most professionally produced encyclopedia entries.
Toodles, Wikipedia. You were fun while it lasted.
Classical music composer, critic, and professor Kyle Gann has written a fascinating blog post about his own experiences with Wikipedia. “The problem is that Wikipedia forces its contributors to come to a consensus, and building consensus with a crank is a fool’s errand.” Thanks to commenter Scott Spiegelberg for the link.
Graydon Saunders, in comment #40: “Google and Wikipedia have the same fundamental problem—distributed mechanisms intended to label information quality function as mechanisms of apportioning social status, at which point the incentive to hack them is functionally infinite.”
Cory Doctorow, in comment #75, makes a lengthy and thoughtful case for Wikipedia optimism.
Teresa rants, comment #89.
Andrew Gray, comment #93, gives us the view from inside Wikipedia.
And Dave Luckett writes a villanelle, comment #104.