What are we going to do about Wikipedia?

(sigh) I like Wikipedia. It's useful. At the same time I'm pretty sure it's passed an event horizon it will never recover from - the stories about stupidity in editing are legion. Ironically enough Wikipedia itself preserves them all, so you can at least see how their policies have made it an insular little playground more concerns with rules than with truth. And the thing that was originally charming about Wikipedia was that it had pages of stuff on webcomics and Klingons and whatnot. I never wanted Wikipedia to become stuffy Brittanica - we can use Brittanica for that.

This rant is triggered by the flamewar here. In short John Scalzi tried to edit the page on Fred Saberhagen to note his death, and some officious twit explained that the sheer fact of his death could not be noted until an acceptable reference was generated. Harlan Ellison was specifically defined as "not a reliable source by any definition" and the SFWA website was questioned as being reliable. The fracas went on until Locus put up an announcement - very likely informed by Harlan Ellison, but apparently it doesn't matter "how the sausage got made".


Somebody needs to take the spirit of Wikipedia - a huge open source repository of information to be taken with a grain of salt - and clone it. Because Wikipedia is someday going to consist of locked set of pages about politics and the infamously huge collection of entries on Pokemon.

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