Digital Culture

Wikipedia vs Jessamyn

I had no idea until I saw it on Information Wants to Be Free that there was a discussion going on regarding whether or not our very own Jessamyn Charity West was “important” enough to have her own Wikipedia page.

Laying aside the fact that I think the answer is obvious (damn straight she is!) there is a degree to which the question is an interesting one. Meredith says:

Significant to whom? How is that even a valid question? Imposing this sort of authority on the wikipedia seems rather arbitrary to me and goes against what a wiki should be. But I digress…

Well…the Wikipedia has a set of standards that they use to judge inclusion of biographies. This is probably not a terrible thing. For one it keeps people from putting up derogatory biographies about other people they know. I am all for wikis being whatever they want to be…open or closed. Wikipedia made that choice, and have stated standards for inclusion. Works for me, as long as the reasons are public.

Would I prefer it to be more open? Of course. I’d love to be able to enter biographies of “non-important” people. The possibility of using Wikipedia as a form of personal biography is a really interesting one, and I think one could make a solid argument for allowing it.

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