Proceedings:SA2

From Wikimania
Jump to: navigation, search

The main criticisms made about Wikipedia, and the hot themes which constitute its nature, concern three aspects in particular: neutrality, democracy in the collaborative process, and content quality.

If we connect the three issues together we immediately understand that each one represents an essential aspect for a free and universal encyclopaedia. At the same time a lack of balance among them could mean that one is favoured above the others, which could be a problem.

Greater quality may require some restrictions to the way people create and collaborate and it could give a sort of closure in favour of people who are more competent but who may be less passionate and motivated. On the other hand too much “openness” could lead to anarchy.

The question of neutrality is easy to solve: is it easier to be neutral when there are many opinions or when there are only a few? Traditional encyclopaedias are high quality but crystallized: Wikipedia should be something more and transfer a quality of knowledge that doesn’t mean just accuracy of the terms, but dynamic contents, continuous evolution, free and open access to the information. Quality should accurately represent the world where we live and those who write and read Wikipedia, so potentially all human beings.

It’s important to ensure good quality and to have rules, but the rules must guarantee (and not restrict) the right to choose, and should open the door to everybody. What if Tim Berners Lee had preferred an oligarchy to build the World Wide Web, or Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds had decided to close their projects in the name of higher quality? However, they finally obtained the high quality they sought with the help of a big community: as Eric Raymond said, “Many heads are inevitably better than one.