A techie news item

After 3 years of operation, the English version of Wikipedia now has more than 300,000 articles. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a web encyclopedia in the form of a “wiki,” meaning an collection of pages that can be created, edited and interlinked by absolutely anyone, even a random surfer who wanders in from nowhere. What makes the project work is that if you do an edit that amounts to vandalism anyone at all can reverse it with a single mouse click, so it’s easier to fix than engage in bad conduct and its consequences disappear very quickly.

Wikipedia is a successful example of the classical liberal “open marketplace” approach to rational discussion. Entries usually come over time to approximate the balance of informed opinion, with fairly even-handed coverage of minority views. There may of course be problems with the balance of informed opinion, but the format permits the problems to be raised, so the enterprise tends to make informed opinion a bit more informed.

It would probably be worthwhile, time and manpower permitting, for people with a traddish perspective to get involved so that their points get articulated and their relation to other possibilities laid out in a place where a lot of people who are interested in learning the logic of various positions will see them. That sort of thing can be good mental exercise and it might open some minds. I’ve contributed a couple of entries myself, one on anti-racism for example. The anti-racism entry naturally couldn’t be argumentative, but it could at least put anti-racism in question as a specific social development to puzzle over and evaluate rather than an unquestioned part of the inarticulate background to all morality. And at this stage of the game that’s a great deal.

1 thought on “A techie news item”

  1. And they have sections in different languages.
    I happen to like languages. Where else can you just casually sit down and start reading written Plattdeutsch, say, or the dialects of Frisian? If your Latin needs brushing up, they’ve got a section in that too. I think they’ve got Basque if I’m not mistaken, and they have Hebrew for those who, as Henry Higgins might say, like writing backwards, and—well, I forget what all else they have over there—but it’s a wonderful place, a great place to sit down, relax, and just browse to your heart’s content in almost any language you’re likely to know or be interested in.


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