March 29, 2009

Two of My Favorite Things

Two of my favorite things get connected in this piece from the NYT - Wikipedia and Jane Jacobs:
Mr. Lih at one point enlists the urban reformer Jane Jacobs to back up this point. For him, urban stability is replicated through the transparency of wikis — every change ever made at Wikipedia (every discussion as well) is recorded. Ms. Jacobs, he writes, “argued that sidewalks provided three important things: safety, contact and the assimilation of children.” She may as well have been talking about wikis, he says: “A wiki has all its activities happening in the open for inspection, as on Jacobs’s sidewalk. Trust is built by observing the actions of others in the community and discovering people with like or complementary interests.”

4 comments:

Pomeroy Kinsey said...

Ahhh. Give that journalist a prize.

Pomeroy Kinsey said...

Great article. I didn't know this: "Spend time in German Wikipedia, and you find jazz musicians like Thelonious Monk with articles far longer than those written in their own language."

J said...

I hadn't thought of it either - the idea that wikipedia could be used to organize and mine not just information but all these culturally conditioned "versions" of information.

Pomeroy Kinsey said...

Some of it, though, has got to be because of the distribution of experts on Theolonious Monk. We should dig into the history of the two entries and see if the longer version isn't generated in part by one or two Germans who have a deeper knowledge of Monk than the Americans. You do it and tell me what you find. ;)