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Peer Governance in Wikipedia (in Spite of the Experts)

There's a nice series by Vasilis Kostakis on peer governance in Wikipedia over at the P2P Foundation blog at the moment, starting with a double interview with P2P Foundation founder Michel Bauwens and me. Parts two and three are here and here.

Much of this focusses on the interminable debate between 'inclusionists' and 'deletionists'. For the most part, I love Paul Hartzog's statement that they "strike me as if they were two rival groups of musicians, sneering at and insulting one another, while they pluck at their lyres as Wikipedia burns down all around them" - yes, the debate really couldn't matter much less, but at the same time I also really don't see much evidence of Rome/Wikipedia burning. Certainly compared to, say, Encarta...

And at the risk of adding to my, ho-hum, inclusionist credentials - it seems to me like quite a few of the debatants still need to understand the non-paper, non-paid nature of Wikipedia. Ultimately, what does it matter if Wikipedia includes a few articles on some obscure bit of trivia, or a biography of someone's friend - because there's neither a limited amount of space in the encyclopaedia, nor a closed team of contributors, it simply doesn't affect the quality of Wikipedia's coverage. And it's more than a little extreme to claim that Wikipedia is "tearing itself apart" over any of this.

So, some revealing statements here (if not always intentionally so) - but time to peg all of this back a few notches, I think.

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