An Inclusionist’s Wikipedia

To quote the Wikipedia website “Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project… based on an openly editable model.” Wikipedia states that their articles are written collaboratively by anonymous volunteers, anyone with Internet access, expect in limited cases. This directs us to this week’s focus of Wikipedia’s divide between inclusionists and deletionists.
Wikipedia has not denied that they have administrators who monitor the articles being posted. Nor that they have the ability to limit the accessibility people have to making edits on particular documents, I just think that this is contradictory to my understanding of Wikipedia’s purpose.

While I do see the value in being able to recognize the reliability of Wikipedia articles I feel that this is unrealistic and not the main intention of Wikipedia. If Wikipedia is meant to be a medium for society to pool their knowledge and therefore be the largest encyclopedia I do not think that articles should be so strongly monitored. I agree with the point Carr makes in questioning who can be the one to determine what is “worthy” or “important” and what is this relevant to. Whatever the subject large, small, person, or place it should all have equal opportunity to have information available on Wikipedia.

While this idea of two different Wikipedia’s one for deletionists and one for inclusionists seems like a great idea, I think that it is very impractical. I feel that this would negatively impact what I feel is the most important aspect of Wikipedia. That aspect being the large network of gathered information and a world worth of knowledge all in one place. If everyone had a choice between the two “Wikipedia’s” this information would be divided or in some cases could be duplicated. I think that while there may be a very firm line between the two sides of inclusionist and deletionist, Wikipedia would be most beneficial operating the way it does today with only one Wikipedia.

Considering why deletionists might want to manage the site, I understand it is their hope that Wikipedia can be a respected online, universal encyclopedia. In order for people to trust Wikipedia as a reliable source their information has to be notable with recognized references. However, thus far Wikipedia cannot always be trusted as a reliable source. For many different school assignments I have been told that Wikipedia references are unacceptable because it is difficult to determine if the information is accurate. I see the direction deletionists want to take Wikipedia, however I think it will be difficult to achieve society’s trust in complete accuracy of all information. In order for this to be a possibility Wikipedia would have to guarantee all information posted is accurate, which would dramatically impact the open editable format the website currently follows.

Overall, I have taken the inclusionists side in this debate. I think that Wikipedia’s primary importance is the gathering of the world’s knowledge, in one place. To achieve this it is necessary that the site be open to everyone with out limitations. In order to prevent absurd lies and completely inaccurate information from being posted a different approach could be taken than to restrict publication. Instead, Wikipedia could take a similar approach to law enforcement, innocent until proven guilty. Therefore allow anyone to post anything and it will remain published or assumed accurate until proven inaccurate. I agree with the inclusionists’ point of view in that I feel a wider variety of information is more important than the amount of depth available on each topic.


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