Consumer De-generated MediaPosted by Bob Brin on January 11, 2006 at January 11, 2006 9:33 AM
Yes, with today's consumer-generated media, you too can be an author, a critic, an analyst, a hotdog, a weenie. Take Wikipedia, where anyone can not only contribute articles to this online encyclopedia (if, say, you're an expert on pileated woodpeckers), you can even edit other people's stuff.
Imagine the controversy that could erupt should one contributor believe she's more expert than the expert. Better yet, don't imagine. Go to this article on the ancient civilization of Kush which I tripped upon while helping my 6th grader with her homework. The article looks peaceful as a sand dune, but under the "history" tab at the top of the page, you find a not-so-civilized war waging beneath the surface as one user tries to edit the editor (reads chronologically from bottom up).
Consumer "Deeceevoice" attempts to change the content and says:
Stop this false, racialist dichotomy of sub-Saharan and North Africa. Both were the sites of early BLACK African civilizations
No need to bring modern racial divisions into our Ancient history articles.
If you link to Deeceevoice's profile page, you find a warning about the page from none-other than Jimbo Wales, founder of Wikipedia:
I am strongly advising this user to replace this offensive rant with a calm discussion of the issues the page raises. There is absolutely nothing wrong with raising questions about systemic bias and how racism and other hostile ideologies can affect Wikipedia negatively, but this page is not contributing constructively to the debate. Do not disrupt Wikipedia to make a point.
Deeceevoice then volleys with a link to his/her page, which includes [WARNING] swastikas, offensive photos and crude language, which deeceevoice says others injected. (see comments)
Consumer-generated media can definitely give power to the people. Just be prepared to deal with dialogue that degenerates into graffiti and graphic violence.
Your supposition is incorrect. The link you referred to -- now expunged by the Wiki censors -- was a compilation of racist images and racist vitriol directed at me by other Wikipedia users, as well as a frank accounting of my experiences w/Wikipedia. The swastika, the photo of the lynched black man, etc., are all images that are part of the wiki database.
Posted by: deeceevoice at March 11, 2006 9:51 PM
Furthermore, you appear to be misinformed about the nature of Wikipedia. All editors are on equal footing at Wikipedia -- a fact which, IMO, makes it an often unreliable source of information. Any hack with Internet access can write anything about anything -- and the misinformation can remain in place for months without being detected.
Despite your apparent assumption, I am extremely well read on the subject of which you make mention -- far more so, in fact, than the average Wiki editor, which is why many of my edits stand; they cannot be refuted/debunked.
Lastly, Wale's comments referred to my point-by-point criticism of the Wikipedia project with regard to a number of issues, not the least of which is its appalling subject matter deficits, pervasive racism and fundamental unreliability as an authoritative source. Wikipedia itself has a project the primary purpose of which is to combat the widely recognized "systemic bias" of the website.
When assisting your daughter with her homework and utilizing Wikipedia as a resource, you might do well to keep such matters in mind.
Posted by: deeceevoice at March 11, 2006 10:00 PM
Thanks for the correction on who posted the racist images, etc. I do understand that anyone can post to Wikipedia and that it's, therefore, not always reliable -- the subject of the article.
Posted by: Bob at March 12, 2006 7:59 AM
Blog editor's note: I edited this down in size:
Again, the words and images already existed on Wikipedia in some form or fashion before I copied them for illustrative purposes on the page. The racist vitriol you saw (and more), in fact, had been directed at me my others and placed on my talk page or user page. ...
(From my user page)
Wikipedia is a technology-driven enterprise. As a result, it is skewed toward a white, male, under-50 demographic -- and anyone with a computer and Internet access can edit virtually anything. This has resulted in appalling subject matter deficits and various biases ...
...Wikipedia is a noble idea, but inherently and fatally flawed. ...
Posted by: deeceevoice at March 13, 2006 9:32 AM
Post a comment