Confusion about Wikipedia

In Edge; DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism, Jaron Lanier garbles many concepts. His complaints about Wikipedia are best answered by the response of Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg, who point out his apparent ignorance of the document history and discussion pages and his failure to convincingly identify himself when making edits to a section on which he might have been accepted as an authority.

Meanwhile, the ex-editor Robert McHenry of Encyclopedia Britannica makes some (unbiased?) comments about Wikipedia in the course of (correctly)correcting David Shariatmadari for using the word ‘bias’ in a recent article when what he meant was ‘imbalance’. But although bias, to the extent that it can fairly be defined, does need to be eliminated, the imbalance that concerns Shariatmadari seems to me quite irrelevant in the context of a free on-line product. For a book or CD based product, or a service that I had to pay for, it would be annoying to find that the bulk of what I was paying for or storing was silly entries about fantasy stories or small towns in the US, but even if Wikipedia holds an infinite amount of such material, it’s no problem for me so long as topics of interest are also included.

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