What I learned from my experience editing a Wikipedia entry:
1. The standard form of book entries varied: Tom Friedman’s The World is Flat, Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, and Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class; were all outlined a little differently.
2. For as often as the above books are referenced, only Friedman’s had an extensive entry and Florida’s book was just a stub.
3. Neutral Point of View (NPOV) is easier said than done. Most of the time I spent was getting acquainted with how other collaborators wrote about an author’s view-point.
4. There is a real opportunity within these social and cultural works to start a dialogue that isn’t happening. Shirky has a few noncontroversial critiques that in my opinion make valid points despite in one case affirming a the restrictions placed on institutional knowledge.
5. Wikipedia taught me the value of a good link. I shied away from blog posts despite one of the most cogent arguments coming from a traditional print author turn blogger, Tom Slee. His argument of the two voices of Here Comes Everybody (Shirky- is the, ‘perceptive and creative interpreter of the ways that digital technology is changing society AND ‘Clay-the ‘is a techno-enthusiast and an inveterate story-teller) articulates my own unformulated issues with the book. The irony of Wikipedia, is that a user-generated post like that of Slee’s may not be authoritarian enough because it lacks the formal institutional backing that Wikipedia is the antithesis of.
I enjoyed working on the entry mostly because I appreciated the source material, have nothing to gain from it, and would be willing to defend it should it get deleted. It cost me a little (maybe more than a little) time, I am curious to see if anyone will add to the post, and after a little tinkering, I got the hang of formatting the entry. The experience was the kind of ‘acceptable bargain,’ Shirky writes about.