Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Geekipedia

Everyone loves Wikipedia. It's free, fast, and oh so convenient online encyclopedia. All you need is a computer and a connection to the internet. You can look up information from the properties of the element Au (gold) to the history of the famous British rock band, The Beatles. And the best part of it is, that it's usually up to date, because people like you and me can just go in and add information.

Wait. Maybe that isn't such a good thing. That means anyone who can connect to Wikipedia can also write in it. Not everyone is as passive as me and just reads them. People write them, which is reflected in the 2,786,712 (current) individual articles in the Wikipedia archives. And those are the only the ones in English. I have to say, that's great because that means there is probably a topic on everything and anything I want to know, but what really is written in these articles and who really writes them?

A while back, Charlie Barratt, a writer for the online gamer review website Games Radar, did a quick search of the word count some of the articles on Wikipedia. What he found really makes you think about who writes these things and what we either find important or just happen to know more about. Now, I'm not saying that all of society is like this, nor that we value something more than others. It's just amazing how much time people will devout to some articles on Wikipedia and so much less time to others. To really understand what I'm talking about, take a look at his article. He does a much better job explaining it than I can.

Read about it:
The WTF World of Wikipedia

Is the fictional Umbrella Corperation from the game Resident Evil worth 2875 words more than the real National Human Genome Research Institute?

-Patricia Chan