Will Wikipedia row signal beginning of end for open editing?

January 28, 2009 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

The current Wikipedia row over edit rights might just be the shut-down signal for open editing.  Potentially, the consequences are significant as the action may be viewed by other social media applications as an indication that it is acceptable to filter supplied information.  One of the many appeals of this type of social media application has been the ability to instantly publish information as well as being actively involved in creation and development of a valuable resource. Wikipedia’s particular appeal was that anyone could – and should – contribute to shared knowledge within a self-policing structure – and it worked, as recent research has shown.  Wikipedia was one of the early influencer applications and its format and ethos encouraged large numbers of people to participate and form communties online.  If Wikipedia begins to filter edits, as it suggests it will do, it is entirely possible that the flat structure it has encouraged and helped to develop over the last seven years or so will diminish, reforming once again as old-style information hierarchies.  Without doubt, such a change would be to the considerable detriment of all businesses and organisations –  private or public –  and the communities they serve.

Personally, I hope widespread filtering doesn’t occur as the many people who have found a voice using digital applications will suddenly find themselves once again unable to speak and express their views – and we will be all the poorer for not being able to listen so effectively to our communities.

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Entry filed under: communications management, digital communication, ethics, listening, relationships. Tags: , , , .

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