Wiki Fiddling

Just out of interest I signed up to Wikipedia the other day. For anyone still living in the dark ages Wikipedia is a collaborative online encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to.

The idea is that everyone can contribute in their own area of expertise thereby building up a community resource. The term “Wisdom of the Commons” gets bandied about which seems like an odd phrase to me.

Some wisdoms, it seems, is more common than others. For instance, if you want to know which movies starred both Dustin Hoffman and Bob Hoskins the Wikipedia is an invaluable resource. On the other hand, if you want to know how to calculate wind-shear forces on a cable suspension bridge you would do well to look elsewhere. Either you won’t find the information in the first place or, if you do, there is a fair chance your bridge will collapse in a high wind.

Historical stuff seems to be somewhere in the middle. The bits I know about are mostly correct but tend to be careless in the finer details. Academic rigour, like engineering, is a matter of training not just native intelligence and some of the contributors are less than rigourous.

So, in the spirit of co-operation, I have added my own entry on a man with the curious name of Quilt Arnold. It is a fairly minor entry about a minor 18th century London criminal but I believe it has the virtue of being mostly correct. If I have the time and energy I might even do some more entries.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 at 10:37 am and is filed under General, Writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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