A Wikipedia paradox


in Geek stuff, Internet matters

The site is most useful when you know either absolutely nothing about something, or a great deal about it. It permits those utterly unaware of a topic to get some essential facts – probably true – very quickly and easily. It also allows real experts to track down something they once knew, can remember, but had forgotten very quickly.

Wikipedia is least useful for those in the middle zone. These are people who know more than the minimum, but not enough to really judge the credibility of complex arguments in the subject area.

Nonetheless, it is a wonderful resource. I use it at least twenty times a day.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Litty September 26, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Isn’t this true of all sources of information? Knowing just a bit about sometime can actually make you easier to mislead.

Milan September 26, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Some sources of information serve the middle ground better. In many cases, Wikipedia entries go straight from the most basic introduction to additional information that is highly technical.

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