Wikis and Social Computing

Something I have been meaning to write about for some time. How great are wikis? Fact … Wikipedia has more than double the number of entries of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica but their error rate per article is higher. Quite higher, if you consider the volumes.

Question … How accurate are wikis? Quite a bit. Absolutely? No. But then, neither are books. Mistakes exist in all documents (even the Encyclopaedia Brittanica), so it would be prudent to assume that wikis would have, too. After all, they are not written by “experts”. But they are written by people in the know.

Implications … I wouldnt use Wikipedia for doing research on my Ph. D. (not that I am doing one in the near future). But, having said that, a wiki would serve as an excellent starting point for if you are looking at reading up on something. Starting point being the key word. In addition, wikis also serve as a nice aggregator, because more often than not, people tend to put in a few links to websites, or information about books and experts on the subject they are writing upon.


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