One of the great things about the web is that it’s read/write. Just about everyone can read it and write it. This can foster GREAT global equality IF everyone has access to and knows how to read and write the web.
Iâ€™ve read a lot on the web and email lists recently about false information being written on Wikipedia. Such as Adam Curry changing the Podcasting entry on Wikipedia to suit his version of events and John Seigenthaler Sr. being connected to the assignation of John F. Kennedy. This is really just a demonstration of new power. Now that people have the knowledge and the tools they have at it.
In June I wrote People With Erasers about Wikipedia. Now after reading about the Seigenthaler affair, and revelations about Adam Curry’s rewriting of the podcasting history — the bigger problem is that Wikipedia is so often considered authoritative. That must stop now, surely. Every fact in there must be considered partisan, written by someone with a confict of interest. Further, we need to determine what authority means in the age of Internet scholarship. And we need to take a step back and ask if we really want the participants in history to write and rewrite the history. Isn’t there a place in this century for historians, non-participants who observe and report on the events?
The fact is we are all participants. No one who is reading the web is a non-participant. We have access to so much media we become part of it. If we compeltly ignor the media – like the web – then we are not part of it. If we are not part of it then we can not observe and report on it.
The tension I described above about the editing of wikipedia is just a growing pain. Pain from loosing control over others. Those who had control may not even realized they had it. The experts, trusted sources, gatekeepers, professors, teachers, editors, encyclopedias, dictionaries, media, leaders, and the parents are no longer in complete control. The masses have discovered that racket. Now we all can read and write. Let’s their be no one in charge!