Correction: I “buy” it

I was looking over an article in the (Baltimore) Examiner that reads, in part:

“Some things get really bad–histories, politics, gets controversial that doesn’t get settled easily,” said Bernard Huberman, author of a study, which determined that increased edits make Wikipedia articles “superior.”

Not everyone is buying the study, and some even did their own research to test Wikipedia as a trustworthy source of accurate information.

Alex Halavais, assistant professor in the interactive communication program at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., inserted 13 errors into various Wikipedia articles, including a false addition to the periodic table and the definition of “longitude.”

I think it’s pretty easy to read that as saying that I don’t buy the Huberman study (which, I presume, is this one). Of course, I wasn’t asked about the Huberman study, and I would be curious who these “some people” are. Wilkinson & Huberman present an argument that the best articles are the most-edited, generally speaking–I’m not sure how one would even take issue with that. But–just to be clear–I am not among those “some people,” and I would never use my caprice (the “Isuzu Experiment”) as anything approaching substantial evidence. If anything, I would be pleased if it spurred more thorough investigations of the quality of the content on Wikipedia and how that content is accumulated.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 8/11/2008 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I am surprised at the tone and irony of the writer. Even if he is not one of “those some,” the number of “those some” is really big. Wikipedia is one of the best things created on the Web, like everything new; it has to be used cleverly to get its benefits.


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