[Ffmpeg-devel] Re: [OT] Wikipedia

Diego Biurrun diego
Sat Mar 4 11:08:29 CET 2006

On Sat, Mar 04, 2006 at 12:53:54AM +0000, Robert Swain wrote:
> On Saturday 04 March 2006 00:10, M?ns Rullg?rd wrote:
> > Diego Biurrun <diego at biurrun.de> writes:
> > >
> > > I'll give you an example: I recently needed to know the exact difference
> > > between perfect and maximal matchings on graphs, because the book I was
> > > studying from was unclear.  I looked through several math books to no
> > > avail, but I immediately found it on Wikipedia...
> >
> > Good for you.  The problem with Wikipedia, like almost everything on
> > the Internet, is that you can't quite trust it.  I put more faith in
> > something I read in a book by a reputable author than what some
> > anonymous person has scribbled on a web page.
> Surely that's because of the ratification process that goes into such 
> publications. If I ever make a reference in a piece for my university I use 
> paper references, simply because of the peer review process that has to be 
> undertaken. That's not to say I don't use or appreciate Wikipedia, but I 
> think I consider it more fallible than a properly reviewed article for 
> technical subjects.

I think the review process is crucial, just like for open source
software and academic works.  But the review process is of wildly
differing quality in all three areas.  You can find scientific
publications that are low quality or even plain forgeries.

> On occasion, I would expect certain people in the general public 
> (fanatics? :)) to have as good or better knowledge about some subjects in the 
> public eye than someone writing an encyclopedia. (c.f. the 'hollaback girl' 
> thing...)

It's also worth noting that formal titles are not everything.  People
can be knowledgeable or even experts on certain topics without formal
training or academic titles.

I guess we all agree that the leader of this project is an expert on
multimedia topics, maybe even one of the top experts.  Yet he has no
formal or academic title to certify that.

> As it progresses over coming years, due to its accessibility and availability 
> by everyone under the sun be they academics or general public, I think 
> Wikipedia could surpass traditional paper encyclopedia. As long as academics 
> are willing to entrust their wisdom to the website for free and help the 
> cause.

Time will tell.  I tend to agree, though.


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