Ask a web user about Wikipeidia and they’ll probably offer an explanation about how anyone can edit the articles contained in the online encyclopedia.
Of course, the implication drawn from that is that anyone could write a page about any conceivable subject, something reinforced by the tremendous growth in the number of articles.
All of that’s pretty much the myth of Wikipedia.
Surprise, surprise… they have editors. And those editors continually mark articles as “non-notable”, leading to their removal from the database.
Let’s sum it up this way: Not everyone is Wiki-worthy.
In fact, Wikipedia jettisons more than 100 entries every day, many of them from people who posted autobiographies after registering on the site. (Writing your own entry, as we will see, is “strongly discouraged.”) The list of nominated rejects is posted each day on a page titled “articles for deletion,” and because all of Wikipedia is transparent and public, anyone can watch the editors’ votes roll in, and witness those ultimately deemed non-notable slink away, in real time, after getting cyber-gonged off the stage. Type “wikipedia deletion log” into Google for a peek at the latest.
Some Wiki purists probably believe having editors destroys the whole populist nature of the concept, even if administrators are open about the whole process and offer an appeal process.
Actually, for me this minimal level of quality control offers more confidence when discussing the use of Wikipedia with teachers and librarians.
Basic standards for inclusion, combined with the ability of the general community to review and correct the information, makes Wikipedia an even more valuable learning tool.