A Wiki’s Faith

From the greatest fountain of human knowledge ever constructed: Wikipedia.

(All of science is a very close second.)

Lars Aronsson, a data systems specialist, summarizes the controversy as follows: “Most people, when they first learn about the wiki concept, assume that a Web site that can be edited by anybody would soon be rendered useless by destructive input. It sounds like offering free spray cans next to a grey concrete wall. The only likely outcome would be ugly graffiti and simple tagging, and many artistic efforts would not be long lived. Still, it seems to work very well.”


The success of wikis in general are a pretty compelling proof of humanity’s inherent goodness.

Also, you should see what artists can actually do with an empty wall and a couple cans of spray paint.

If we were purely vandals by nature, there would be only vandalism.

There is vandalism, of course, but there is also a lot more than just that, and overall vandalism is provably very low in most wiki systems – and critically for this particular point, that includes the largest and most open wiki system that currently exists anywhere.

That would be Wikipedia itself, in case you were wondering.

Although… it’s worth noting that science operates at a deeper, more foundational scale. And it regulates many of the same problematic behaviors with higher effectiveness – discouraging fraudulent updates, reconciling edit wars, and a general emphasis on correcting past mistakes over preventing future errors.

But it’s easily demonstrable that Wikipedia makes human knowledge more widely available for more people than the old ivory towers of science ever could.

Get on board, or get left behind.

Indeed, you already have.

In any case – if you were so inclined, you could even try to philosophically reduce all “civilization” to an openly sourced wiki-style process.

That’s not exactly my project or my model, but if it’s yours… good luck, my friend 🙂

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