So you know Time magazine’s none-too-flattering treatment of the ‘troubles’ of Wikipedia? The one suggesting that the online encyclopedia—the paragon of intellectual collaboration, the testament to what we can achieve when we when put our minds, almost literally, together—has “hit the natural limit of knowledge expansion”?
Yes. Well. One person who isn’t, it turns out, such a fan of the Time piece—or, it seems, of that piece’s many, many Wikipedia-focused counterparts—is….Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Who today, in a blog entry for The Huffington Post’s brand-new “Technology” vertical, takes on “old media people” generally. Yes.
I believe that the underlying facts about the Wikipedia phenomenon—that the general public is actually intelligent, interested in sharing knowledge, interested in getting the facts straight—are so shocking to most old media people that it is literally impossible for them to report on Wikipedia without following a storyline that goes something like this: “Yeah, this was a crazy thing that worked for awhile, but eventually they will see the light and realize that top-down control is the only thing that works.”Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.