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I'm Ryan Lowe, a Software Engineering graduate living in Ottawa, Canada. I like agile software development and Ruby on Rails.
I write this blog in Canadian English and don't use a spell checker. Typos happen.
» Full-time Ruby on Rails freelancer
» Full-time with Rails since May 2005
» Former committer for RadRails (now Aptana)
» I also have a few Rails side-projects in development:
1. wheretogoinTO.com Toronto nightlife
2. Hey Heads Up! TODO list and sharing
3. Layered Genealogy family history research
4. foos for foosball scoring
5. fanconcert for music fans (on hold)
Hiring Rails developers? I can telecommute by the hour from Ottawa, Canada
»» Email: rails AT ryanlowe DOT ca
Now hosted on Hey! Heads Up -- check it out!
Derek Lowe's (Ryan's older brother) words at Ryan's funeral
email@example.com no more
Forging Email Headers: Good, Bad or Ugly?
Sarcastic Dictionary (Part 1 of Many)
Twisting Rails is Risky Business
Risky Business? My Take on Early Alphas
Whoa, it's August 2007
A Postscript to "Growth at the grassroots"
»» All Blog Posts
David Heinemeier Hansson
James Duncan Davidson
Signal vs. Noise
Amy Hoy: (24)slash7
Luis de la Rosa
Wikipedia Paves the Way for Massive Collaboration
Wikipedia.org has been taking some slack lately. Wikipedia-bashing seems to go in cycles with the press and then the blogger ripples that follow, this time itself a ripple of the Web 2.0 hype. Wonderful.
The focus seems to be on Wikipedia's quality problems and an apparent willful ignorance of those problems by the Wikipedia faithful.
But honestly, if you really liked Wikipedia and you couldn't come up with a reasonable solution to improve quality, what would you do? You'd probably just keep trying to fight the good fight against users bent on creating chaos. Wikipedia is a great informal reference. Would I use it for anything serious? Not as a primary reference, no way. I don't think anyone in academia would either -- and that can't be a good sign.
Wikipedia cannot overcome its technical limitations that cause the quality problems. That's why it will never be an encyclopedia. The sad thing is that its technical limitations are a side-effect of its technical innovation -- the fact that it is a collaborative wiki that can be edited instantly by anyone.
A wiki can only be so reliable, so correct. There will always be saboteurs and there will always be a finite amount of time required to clean up after them. This is not an environment for a real encyclopedia but it's a great environment for an informal secondary resource.
I applaud what Wikipedia has done, I think it's great. I use it almost every day, and every day I learn something from it. But I don't think I'd dare call it an encylopedia, at least not a reliable one. It's pretty good, but that's just not good enough.
The good thing is that this is the first step in a long line of collaborative "fact repositories". The editorially-relaxed (nay, free) Wikipedia process was the only way collaboration of this sort could initially gain a foothold.
People have seen the benefits and downsides of massive collaboration. People have learned from Wikipedia. Now it's time to get serious about online resources that can leverage massive collaboration for comprehensiveness but can still be a reliable source.
A wiki just isn't going to cut it for that purpose, folks. We need some new ideas.Posted at October 19, 2005 at 03:19 AM EST
Last updated October 19, 2005 at 03:19 AM EST