Her Voz

Wikipedia: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions.

Sometime ago, I remember an urban radio show in Washington, DC reported Sinbad (also know as David Adkins) as having died. The report came as a complete shock. Well, Sinbad—the American stand–up comedian best known for starring in films Houseguest and Jingle All the Way—was not dead. The next day, as I made my drive in to work, Sinbad called the radio station to jokingly say, “He was calling from the grave.”

What happened? The radio station had done what many others do—dangerously look to Wikipedia for news reports and resourceful information.

Wikipedia should not be trusted. Reasons have come from many examples of unreliable and biased sources. From the CIA and Diebold policing content, character assassination (John Seigenthaler Sr. was falsely said to have been involved in the Kennedy assassination), to biased editors deleting corrections and entries. Corporations and individuals hide intentions and post information that supports economic, political and/or corporate interests, which at times are far from the truth.

An expert–led encyclopedia confronts a similar issue of content editing, which may be a bit biased––the entry for Christopher Columbus—“having founded La Isabella” (now known as Haiti and the Dominican Republic) can be argued against. However, the age–old controversial facts and conspiracies, will always be argued by antagonists and protagonists. The blatant mistakes and unreliable information of wikipedia, prove expert-led sources to be very mild, as far as untrustworthy.

In order for Wikipedia to improve set-up to better provide accuracy two things need to happen. A riddance of anonymous posts and a fact checker. The source-system that reveals server and computer information from affiliate corporations is a good start, but what happens when a freelancer, with no prior affiliation to a corporation or individual, is paid to police a certain subject matter. A fact checker is necessary, so that the correct information is posted and biased, objective, and untruthful information is rejected. It could be individuals or a computerized check, which would go to individuals if the validity of a computerized fact check is questioned.

I like Wikipedia’s effort to give a voice to the masses and allow posts by individuals not considered “experts.” I loved finding information about Aventura, a not so famous Latin-American boy-band, when no one else even had them on their radar. Now that they’ve sold over 10 million copies of four albums and won several Latin Grammy and ASCAP awards, the “experts” now recognize them. What took them so long?

The problem with Wikipedia, is common to most new sites. There are some kinks in the system. They possessed good intentions during conception, but after eight years of operation Wikipedia technicians need to regroup and modify or else they will crash like a lot of other good-intentions.

Interested-Read More:
What Wikipedia Lost: Credibility Business Blog at Intuitive: Dave Taylor
A False Wikipedia BiographyUSA Today: John Seigenthaler
Credibility of Wikipedia take a Dive after Wired ExposePrison Planet: Paul Joseph Watson
Can Wikipedia Be Trusted? Gecko and Fly:Ryan Jordan
What is Wrong with Wikipedia? John Lott’s Website: John Lott


Reality TV Goes Crowdsourcing

Television competition series has used crowdsourcing—audience participation—for some time. Remembering Love Connection and Star Search, my generation has watched the evolution of television competition series—Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. Each show relying on audience voting—makes one person winner of one million dollars and recipient of major recording deals and fame.

This time around, television networks have taken their crowdsourcing efforts to the internet! Lifetime television network is letting online voters choose Friday night’s 8:00 and 10:00 pm movie. Lifetime provides online clips of five contenders to visitors of the site; all users have to do is watch each clip (or two, or none) and “Pick–a–Flick.” This is very useful for Lifetime, because it gives its online and television viewers exactly what they want, a say in what they want to see on tv.

My favorite television network’s online crowdsourcing example is Rate my Space. HGTV has created a community of hopeful makeover recipients, and loyal viewers of the Rate my Space show. To be apart of the community all you have to do is post pictures and/or videos of a space you desire to be made over, other online users rate the space, and each television episode HGTV devotes the show to professionally making over one of the lowest rated rooms. The site has received millions of picture uploads, therefore making passive viewers, loyal community activists. Its has devoted a blog, widget, facebook and twitter page to the show. One can even go online and rate the professional makeover. I for one enjoy reading all 345 comments about my space. Some increase dialogue with me and other viewers, some envision what I had in mind for my space, and some are just plain FUNNY! Will I ever make it on the show, who knows, but I like the other millions of hopefuls will keep watching the makeovers and rate other’s spaces.