Sunday, October 12, 2008

"Know it All" Questions

1. I think that one of the main points in this article is the comparing of Wikipedia to Britannica's Encyclopedia. Another point of this article is to show the strengths and the weaknesses that Wikipedia have. I also think that another point would have to be about how many people go to Wikipedia and actually rely on it. Also that people like the fact that Wikipedia has information on a lot more subjects then regular encyclopedias.

2. Wikipedia may be the world’s most ambitious vanity press. There are two hundred thousand registered users on the English-language site, of whom about thirty-three hundred—fewer than two per cent—are responsible for seventy per cent of the work. The site allows you to compare contributors by the number of edits they have made, by the number of articles that have been judged by community vote to be outstanding (these “featured” articles often appear on the site’s home page), and by hourly activity, in graph form. A seventeen-year-old P. G. Wodehouse fan who specializes in British peerages leads the featured-article pack, with fifty-eight entries. A twenty-four-year-old University of Toronto graduate is the site’s premier contributor. Since composing his first piece, on the Panama Canal, in 2001, he has written or edited more than seventy-two thousand articles. “Wikipediholism” and “editcountitis” are well defined on the site; both link to an article on obsessive-compulsive disorder. (There is a Britannica entry for O.C.D., but no version of it has included Felix Unger’s name in the third sentence, a comprehensive survey of “OCD in literature and film,” or a list of celebrity O.C.D. sufferers, which unites, surely for the first time in history, Florence Nightingale with Joey Ramone.)

I think that this passage is effective because it gives out specific numbers and facts. It shows what kind of people are contributing to Wikipedia and how much they are contributing to the site. This passage is also showing the growing popularity of the site and how people are getting obsessed or addicted to contributing.

3. Wikipedia's design is a very simple and appealing to most people. Searching for something is quite easy. All you have to do is type the thing you are searching for and something will show up. I also like Wikipedia's contents box, it is very visible and can help when you want to look up something specific on a certain subject without looking throughout the entire article. Britannica's design is also very appealing to the eye. It is not as plain as Wikipedia by having a little color in the background. There are ads at the top of the page which may be unappealing to few people. The contents section is not that big and you can not see all of the contents at once like in Wikipedia. Also, with Britannica when you search different items come up that could be related to that subject which can be helpful at times. I think that Wikipedia is going for the simple, easy to use site while Britannica is going for the slightly more complex and more reliable look.

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