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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: Re: SIGIA-L: IAwiki

Re: SIGIA-L: IAwiki

From: Victor Lombardi (
Date: Mon Oct 22 2001 - 17:36:54 EDT

At 02:03 PM 10/22/2001 -0700, Mary Deaton wrote:
>I must say, the minute Victor said it took him a year to warm to wikis, I
>thought "Why the hell use something that takes so long to make its worth

Not everything in the world is simple. More complex things - mathematics, learning to play piano - take a while but are worth the effort. I was thinking of the original wiki ( which is a huge site.

>What problem are people trying to solve here? Do they not like the mailing
>list archives? Or the way mailing lists are distributed? Do they also not
>like newsgroups? Or blogs with multiple contributors?

We're trying to create a body of subject knowledge. Mailing lists are great for timely information, such as the survey I recently conducted. Wikis, as hypertext systems,  can create rich interconnections among ideas, something that's clumsy or impossible for a mailing list. I love blogs too, but they are mostly arranged chronologically rather than using a variety of navigation methods.

>As an encyclopedia of knowledge, I would have no faith in it at all. Where
>is the mechanism for assuring accuracy of the information? If anyone can
>come in an change the thing, how do you maintain its integrity as a
>repository of information?

This is mostly a matter of opinion. But perhaps because wikis reflect an entire community they are more accurate, as there are more points of view and more fact checkers (and more people to clean out the garbage).

Like any community, there's a little vandalism. But mostly everyone contributes and appreciates one another.

You could also ask yourself which sources of information you DO trust, and how much do you know about those authors? A wiki is surely no less credible than a mailing list in this respect.

>Am I getting old and set in my ways?

I don't think so - you're asking good questions :)

>Mary Deaton
>Web Shui at CNET

Victor Lombardi

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