Week 6 Seminar: Wikis - The Wikipedia, Collective Intelligence and Communal Authorship
This week, we are looking at the wonderful world of Wiki! What, I hear you ask is a Wiki?
“A wiki is a web application that allows users to add content, as on an Internet forum, but also allows anyone to edit the content.”
And, I hear you ask, where did you find that definition? The answer to that question would be from Wikipedia, the world famous online encycolpedia, which has over 600,000 entries so far, not to mention its many translations. Wikipedia is perhaps one of the most famous examples of the use of ‘wiki’s’ and has amassed a collection of knowledge through the collaborative work of, basically, anybody on the web. Wikipedia stands in wonderful testament of the “Free Culture” movement, which you may recall from previous readings including Lessig. Its success has been documented by a number of media articles, however some still raise issues of concern over the ‘freely edited’ entries and their accuracry (due to pranks or internet graffiti). Nevertheless, even Microsoft is interested in adding the Wiki editing ability to its famous encylopedia ‘Encarta’.
Below is a list of readings, none of which are excessively long, but all offer some insights into the wonderful world of ‘wiki’ and its implications for free culture.
[X] Thomas Goetz, Wired, “Open Source Everywhere”, Issue 11.11, November 2003 (Print view)
[X] Daniel.H.Pink, Wired, “The Book Stops Here”, Issue 13.03, March 2005 (Please be aware there are four pages to navigate through)
[X] Olga Kharif, Business Week Online, “Wikimania and The Free Culture Movement”, August 2005
These articles should give you some good background knowledge on Wikipedia and Open Source. Some things you might like to consider while reading are:
1) What are the potentials of open source platforms such as Wikipedia? How does it compare to more traditional works such as Britannica?
2) How does Wikipedia and Open Source fit into the notion of ‘Fee Culture’ and how may we consider Open Source in relation to such things as Copyright Law?
3) How serious are the potential concerns over accuracy and misuse of Wikipedia and other Open Source software? What steps do you think could be taken to overcome these issues?
In relation to this third question you might like to take a quick look at the following article which I was originally going to include:
[X] “Webs Wikipedia to Tighten Editorial Rules”- Yahoo News –Courtesy of Reuters, August 2005.
And its response from the founder, Jimmy Wales, who remarks on the complete inaccuracy of the claims here on Lessig’s Blog:
[X] “Media Madness”, Lawrence Lessig’s Blog, August 6th 2005 Post
Furthermore, in specific relation to Wikipedia itself, you may want to take a look at the following:
[X] Wikipedia itself (Please take note of the different languages available, and Wiki’s sister projects at the bottom of the frontpage).
[X] An example article on Weblogs and how they are defined…..please take a look at the Talk/Discussion Tabs on the page, and see how the individual authors have debated over the definiton. Also look at such things as the History of each article and notice how Wikipedia keeps track of all the changes that are made.
[X] Lessig’s Wiki! Yes that’s right, Lessig has his Wiki edition of CODE AND OTHER LAWS OF CYBERSPACE, which can be edited and updated, obviously with some overseeing by Lessig himself.
[X] You may also like to consider Wikipedia’s potential for reporting on current events such as the “London Bombings”.
Feel free to have a look around Wikipedia and maybe pick out any article that interests you and bring it in for possible discussion. I suggest some funny articles to look at as a starting point on Wikis “Unusual Articles Page”.
And finally, why not have a look at the recent scandal Tama posted about on “Ponderance: "Wikipedia gets Punk'd".