Sunday, March 31, 2013

On Wikipedia and Reddit

About Wikipedia and its role in politics…

“(…) Wikipedia is committed to making its articles as unbiased as possible. The aim is not to write articles from a single objective point of view-this is a common misunderstanding of the policy-but rather, to fairly and sympathetically present all views on an issue.”

This is part of one of the policies of Wikipedia. It just reminds me to some sort of “news” publication that went around social media in my country. Presidential elections are going to take place in Paraguay in April, 21st and there is too much debate not only about the candidates’ proposals but also about the candidates’ doubtful backgrounds. There is not any concrete proof or evidence but there are rumors and some past events which involves one of the candidates in drug dealing and cigarette smuggling. The news publication (in Spanish) that was shared on Facebook shows a screen shot of “Wikipedia” and said “According to Wikipedia, Horacio Cartes (the presidential candidate) is a drug-dealer and a cigarette smuggler”. 

I have 2 observations about this issue:

1.       From my perception, I doubt that there is many people in my country who knows that Wikipedia is not a, let’s say official, “reliable” source and rather is just a platform where people collaborate with information about a variety of issues. In fact, the article makes clear that but at the very end. In the fast pace we live there might be some people who didn’t make it until the end of the article. I am not defending or being against this candidate, but the consequences of this fact are that people might believe what was included in Wikipedia and once it went around social media or even become viral it might be hard to stop or make people change their perception about this candidate.

2.      Of course, people working for his campaign detected this issue and they immediately changed the information and now you can read that he is just a “businessman and politician”. This led me to think how permanent or accurate the information might be and how it would be interesting to have a tool or feature that allows you to track these changes, at least to see, how the information about a same topic was being shaped up along a certain time period. This is something that one of our classmates, Wade, mentioned some time ago as well.

I think that the study mentioned in the reading “Peer Production and Sharing” that noted that the “difference in accuracy was not particularly great” among Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Britannica might be too optimistic. Whether is true that vandalism acts can be corrected within minutes in Wikipedia, I can go now and just write back that this presidential candidate was a drug dealer and it can become an endless back and forth between the supposedly “vandals” and  the “supposedly” true about this person.

About Reddit…an interesting site to explore and play with…

            The reading also provided good examples of Slashdot, Project Gutenberg and other sites. I think one of the most current and commented sites that serves sort of the same function as those mentioned in the reading is Reddit. This site was created in 2005 and serves as a portal where people submit links or stories and others, the “redditors” can comment and rate them. In addition, the site offers cool features I think like one named IamA where one user who has an interesting life experience, job or something uncommon allows “redditors” to ask this people questions about anything or almost anything as they said in their site. I think this might be an interesting new site to explore, I already joined and I think they’ve done a good job in creating a diverse community. This example of Reddit also shows as the reading described that the merely function of posting a story from another site into a particular one is “itself an act of relevance production”.
            This is a video that talks a little bit more about Reddit and they show very cool activities they have done to create community...

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006).

1 comment:

  1. I agree that there is definitely some errors on Wikioedia but as we've talked about in class, I think the website overall is astonishing with the amount of information people have collected. It's a great example as mentioned in the article of how people all over the world who have never met can work together and build something via the web.