OK… when they write down the list of top 10 innovations on the web in the last ten years, Wikipedia will be in there. And if you’ve sill not been over there, spend 10 minutes just looking around and you’ll start clicking links within the articles and learning all kinds of things.
The way it works is a kind of hive mind thing. They post articles and let people add their own particular expertise on the subject. Everyone adds what they know and the group weeds out errors. It’s a real cool experiment in group knowledge being greater than single mind knowledge and also in social contract.
“Social contract?” you ask. Yes… people agree Wikipedia is a good thing and purposefully work to keep it useful and of benefit to everyone. But And you knew there’d be a but. Since everyone is allowed to edit articles (I’ve personally edited two), there’s a small temptation to add in “Stuff.” Maybe not for you, but for my weird mind.
Here’s an example. I’m reading about Eketorp Castle. And this paragraph is tempting me:
In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.
I’m literally vibrating right now with restraint. I wanna change it to:
In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. Cultural anthropologists have found writings dating back to 700 AD detailing the arrival of a large dragon which drove out the populace. The dragon was later slain in the 900s but the smell of the carcass made the castle uninhabitable until 1052 when a small group of gypsies began living in the castle. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stoneinterior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.