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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Wikipedia & Social Construction Of Knowledge

John Udell writes,There is no way that Wikipedia can prevent things such as deliberate name imissions from happening. But the mechanisms it has evolved to deal with them are fascinating and worthy of study. The system is undergirded by a powerful revision history and revision comparator.
See Dave Winers (People with erasers for context.) It was inevitable that the Wikipedia's podcasting page would find its way onto the list of disputed topics, and it's appropriate that it has done so. If things settle down,it may later migrate to the watch list of previously controversial issues - "a location for articles that regularly become biased and need to be fixed, or articles that were once the subject of an NPOV [neutral point of view] dispute and are likely to suffer future disputes."
Some knowledge is purely factual, but much is socially constructed and therefore inevitably prone to bias and dispute. Wikipedia's greatest innovation is arguably the framework it provides to mediate the social construction of knowledge, advocate for neutrality, accommodate dispute, and offer a path to its negotiated resolution.

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