Friday, August 18, 2006

Wikipedia - an inherent risk

Via George Siemens, here is a wonderfully ironic tale about Wikipedia. To summarise: Dave Snowden amended the entry on Knowledge Management, including references to some of his own work, only to have his amendments "corrected" by someone (he has dubbed Clint) who asserts that he (Snowden) has never read Snowden's work.

Whoops. The words egg and face come to mind. I can't help hoping that this little tale finds it way back to "Clint" (although, being an opinionated old bat, I have been in his shoes more than once), not because of schadenfreude, but so that he can adjust his own understanding and allow Snowden's amendments to stand.

This tale highlights an inherent risk of resources like Wikipedia (and any social media) - as Snowden says "Clint has more energy for this than I do". People with the time, energy and inclination will get their take on things out there more often and more "loudly" than those who might have a more accurate understanding but who, for whatever reason, don't avail themselves of the forum as assiduously.

In this week's summary email, George says: "Wikipedia is essentially encouraging "critical thinking"". Without this critical thinking, we might be inclined to accept Clint's take on knowledge management and subscribe blindly to his view that Snowden has never read Snowden's work. Increasingly, the onus is on us to double check our sources and find corroborating evidence of claims made. We can't afford to hide behind "I read it in Wikipedia, so it must be true".

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