Eric Burns on Wikipedia

Eric Burns is a fanboy, writer, and blogger who has somehow become the Webcomics blogger par excellance. Good for him! I don’t always agree with him or find what he’s talking about interesting or to the point (I read about 2% as many webcomics as he does), but much of the time I’m right there with him going “yeah boy” and he’s an interesting enough writer that I stay with him through the stuff that’s not my thing.

A lot of people are talking about what’s good and bad about Wikipedia lately, and he’s had some things to say about how well and badly Wikipedia covers his own favorite net.thing, webcomics. Today’s rant is good food for thought, with bits like —

And it highlights the core problem with Wikipedia. In the end, it’s not the issue of whether or not Wikipedia can be trusted — which is what critics have said from the beginning. I think the record shows it’s pretty damn solid in that regard. No, the problem with Wikipedia is a bizarre amalgamation of elitism and anti-elitism which will ultimately come down to “whatever editor is more stubborn than all the others.”

We saw that with John Byrne, who managed to purge out anything negative from his bio largely because he was stubborn enough to continually revert his entry, over and over again, regardless of questions of point of view. And we see it with monumental disparities between guidelines for inclusion based solely on whether or not a significant number of editors are fans of the work in question or not. Go through the Star Wars, Star Trek, West Wing, DC Comics and Marvel Comics sections, and you will see the most mind numbingly obscure bits of trivia developed. Go to webcomics, and you have criteria based on voodoo and prognostication put forth.

He advocates webcomic wikifans thumbing their nose at Wikipedia proper and heading for a dedicated encyclopedic webcomics wiki.

Makes sense to me. If Wikipedia is going to screen for “significance” then people who don’t share its definition of “significance” can go someplace where there are people whose definition of significance they do share.

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