Saturday, May 17, 2008


So currently I work at an Internet company. Before this I was working at IGT which is also a technology company, but much older and established. They make gaming machines (slot machines) and by their own admission they are not on the cutting edge of technology. They have a product that they make well and they stick to that.

I was in a meeting there one time (about January '07), one of the bullet points that the woman running the meeting had was that she wanted us to know that Wikipedia can be changed by anyone to say anything and wanted to let us know not to use it as a factual source of info for our writings. She said she just found that out and asked if anyone else in the room knew that. All of the other people were turning to each other saying "Ohh" and "I didnt know that" and "Did you know that?" I was so stunned. My shock must have been written all over my face because the woman running the meeting actually asked me "You knew that already Zack?" I had no words. For our work I knew we shouldnt be using Wikipedia as an authoritative resource but I wanted to let them see the beauty and possibilities in Wiki's. But in the moment I was stuck in there was no way to do that without being a total asshole. "Sure that is the whole idea of a Wiki, to harness the power of the community..."

I am about to start a little personal wiki project

So I let t go and just said, "yes I knew that" and then something about how there really still is a lot of good info there. It was a very surreal moment for me. My first reaction was to think I can't beleive they didn't know that! But i realized after that they are probably in the majority and me and people in my industry are in the minority, taking for granted what we see in these new technologies. In the past if something had as much buzz and trust as wikipedia does, of course it must be trusted as authoritative. But with Wikipedia you have to be aware that there very possibly are errors but it is the power of how much information and error correction (even if not authoritative) that makes it such a wealth of info. You have to learn to trust it differently.

Anyway, I am about to start a little personal Wiki project and I was thinking about that today. If my project works out, i'll let you know ;)

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