October 24, 2010

Is Wikipedia the Fox News of the internet? You know, something disguising itself as an impartial reporting authority but is really a bunch of opinions with a distinct leaning? You know — Infotainment.

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Is Wikipedia the Fox News of the internet?  You know, something disguising itself as an impartial reporting authority but which is really a bunch of opinions with a distinct leaning?

Infotainment.

I’m susceptible to suggestions, and have to remind myself to question my sources, both human and bunches of tubes.

It’s not my nature to live a suspicious life.  I’m a “Yes, And…” sort of person — slightly less than I used to be, but it is still a part of my weltanschauung.  I’m not cynical.  I’m just not overly Pollyanna anymore.  My response isn’t always “Why yes of course that’s a good idea.”  Conversely, I’m not one to shut an idea down before it’s had a chance to roll around the room a bit.

Oh yeah, Wikipedia.  There’s no requirement for authority there.  There’s a pretense at it, but it’s not the Wiki-Guys background or deal.  They aren’t a scholarly institution.  They’re Infotainment.  A great example was the Wiki for my husband.  I wish you could have seen it before I fixed some of the content.  It was written by someone we know, but the ‘facts’ were all a bit skewed.  Well-meaning, but unless it’s your own bio that you’re writing, it’s your recollection of the way things happened to someone else, which is suspect at best.  Now, it’s radically incomplete, but who has time to be someone elses biographer?

I don’t discount Wikipedia as a resource, but have to remind myself upon occasion of their place in the be-all-know-all spectrum of knowledge.  They float somewhere in the middle.  Sometimes a good place to start, but don’t quote them unless your tongue is firmly en-cheeked.

Every day there’s an evaluation of some sort.  Is this the way to go?  What’s the motivation?  Do I agree or suspend disbelief when my internal alarm bells start ringing?  I long for a little comfort zone every once in a while, but that’s not in the cards for now.  So, understanding my resources is important.

Significantly,

Susan Scot Fry

Update… I personally think there’s nothing wrong with Infotainment.  The key is knowing that that’s what it is.  I think it’s deceitful not to label something as such.  Can you imagine?  Some of the sources we rely on are all of a sudden labeled with a banner that declares, “This is our opinion and you should understand that and gauge for yourself whether or not what we state as fact actually is fact.  Or not.”

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