The other day while having dinner at a friend’s place, we had an interesting conversation about one of the core values of Web 2.0 i.e. harnessing collective intelligence. One friend argued that websites like Wikipedia and Amazon were so full of vandals (defacing pages on Wikipedia and writing bogus reviews on Amazon for example) that we should never use them to learn / decide what to buy…
Interestingly, my other friends said that they were not too sure about Amazon being unreliable (maybe because they had no choice than believing that the comments on Amazon were sincerely written as their entire buying strategy was based on that being true…) but, surely, he was right about Wikipedia which couldn’t possibly be authoritative.
I was the only one saying that Wikipedia is good enough. In fact, it’s more than good enough in the sense that if one feels a specific page is not good enough he can make it become good enough by editing it. Of course, there are vandals on Wikipedia but the website features an excellent version tracking system and, more important, more honest people than vandals.
In fact, I immediately realised that some people had a bad perception of Wikipedia because, brace yourself, it is free. Yep. Same as open source software. For some bizarre reason, some of us believe that something which is free is obligatorily not good. And, of course, what is expensive is obligatorily good.
And this is a very bad thing. Because it’s false. Remember this when doing your Christmas shopping.
Merry Christmas to you!