April 09, 2005
IT'S USUALLY A MISTAKE to copy things from Wikipedia without looking further into the subject. Trust me on this.
Is this part of a general slippage of standards?
UPDATE: Apparently not. At least, FreeWillBlog reports that the cribbing happened the other way around.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I notice that the Wikipedia entry on InstaPundit, now purged of major inaccuracies, contained this now-removed passage: "Reynolds has expressed scepticism about the value of [[Wikipedia]] (somewhat ironically, since the value of Wikipedia's open process has similarities to the perceived value of the blogosphere)."
That has now been edited out, which illustrates both the strength and weakness of Wikipedia. I'm not a general Wikipedia critic, but one difference between blogs and encyclopedias -- which I'm treating Wikipedia as -- is that you expect something sort of finally authoritative from an encyclopedia. Not that errors won't be corrected, etc., in future editions, but with more finality than the Wiki process produces. As I say in my FAQs, I don't see blogs as a final authority: "As with anything else you read on the Internet, you should take what you read here as a starting point for your own research and investigation in the process of arriving at your own informed opinion (again, kind of like a card catalog) not as an ending point. I don't knowingly link to false things without saying so, except in the case of obvious parodies, and I do my best to correct factual errors when I'm made aware of them. But a weblog is more like a rough draft than a finished product." I guess a Wiki is, too, but somehow I expect an encyclopedia to be more of an ending point than a starting point. Perhaps that's unfair, but I think it's the mindset with which most people approach WikiPedia, because it ends in "pedia." A WikiNews site would get a different reception.