Over at ZD Net: Making Wikipedia better, Part II

» Making Wikipedia better, Part II | Rational rants | ZDNet.com:

I wish Wikipedia would forget about being an encyclopedia, because the form is broken. As a reference work, the encyclopedia strives for a single version of reality, even thought there is little doubt that on many issues there are many viable interpretations of events and facts. Because Wikipedia emphasizes the strengths of its community, the members of that community make some egregious mistakes of self-indulgence that a greater attentiveness to the reader would ameliorate. I wish Wikipedia would forget about being an encyclopedia, because the form is broken. As a medium for dialogue, which is essential to democratic society, Wikipedia suffers from a lack of convenient tools for understanding who is changing articles, preventing readers from making informed judgments about the value of information they find in the encyclopedia.

Let’s take this summary of the faults of Wikipedia, which I think is can be an invaluable addition to the world of knowledge, and focus on how to make it better. Better than Encyclopedia Britannica. Better than an encyclopedia. Better as a community.

Continue reading….

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Bush’s weird relationship with reality

Bush’s wound:

Yes, Bush was just making a little joke and trying to connect with wounded veterans, but it reveals a casual blindness to the lived experience of others that is the opposite of compassion.

David Weinberger astutely points out President Bush’s tendency to align his slight inconveniences with the terrible tragedies of the people for whom he is responsible. You can see the clip here, at about 46 seconds into the clip.

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Now Scoble’s wrong

Followup to Chinese thing, off to CES:

One thing I’ve heard is that we spell out our terms of service very explicitly on MSN Spaces. Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.

There is a very large difference between taking down political dissent and child porn; comparing the two is spurious. If Microsoft offers a service that doesn’t allow political dissent, it should close the service, because it is a disservice to people who are striving for freedom.

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Accountability is relative, I guess

Newspapers Urge President to Quit:

I thought it would be interesting to look back at how the press reacted to the Clinton Crisis of 1998. Did newspaper editorials condemn Clinton for his screwing around, and lying about it, and leave it at that, or did they come out squarely for his exit from office?

What follows, from an Associated Press rundown on September 15, 1998, is a long list of newspapers that “called for President Clinton’s resignation.” AP added that some of those listed “did so before the release of Kenneth Starr’s report on Sept. 11.”

Indeed, the Philadelphia Inquirer responded to the coming of the Starr report this way: “Bill Clinton should resign. He should resign because his repeated, reckless deceits have dishonored his presidency beyond repair.”

The Los Angeles Times pointed out: “The picture of Clinton that now emerges is that of a middle-aged man with a pathetic inability to control his sexual fancies.”

The New York Times, on its Howell Raines-led editorial page, thundered that until the Starr turn, “no citizen … could have grasped the completeness of President Clinton’s mendacity or the magnitude of his recklessness.” Yet a Washington Post poll that month showed that while a majority of Americans wanted Congress to censure Clinton, they did not want it to boot him out of office.

Greg Mitchell goes on to list the papers that called for President Clinton’s resignation, many of them staunch defenders of the current Administration despite it’s continued abuse of its authority and misrepresentations to the public.

What this tells us, though, is that the so-called “liberal” papers were just as willing to hold Clinton responsible for his actions as they are to have President Bush answer his critics honestly. At the same time, they are not calling for resignation or impeachment, as they did over a private affair, with a president who misled the people and guided the country to war on false pretenses. Odd, don’t you think?

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Scoble’s right: MSN’s wrong

Microsoft takes down Chinese blogger (my opinions on that): Based on a report by Rebecca McKinnon that MSN Spaces censored a Chinese blogger at the request of the government in Beijing….

Oh, and to: Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti I’d like to offer you a guest blog here on my blog. I won’t censor you and you can write whatever you’d like.

Guys over at MSN: sorry, I don’t agree with your being used as a state-run thug.

Bully for Scoble. If a government gets to tell an information carrier what’s okay and what’s not, that’s just tyranny. It also applies to carriers that betray the confidence of customers calling overseas, allowing eavesdropping without warrants—giving in to “pressing matters of state security” is a cop-out any way you try to explain it.

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Over at ZD: Free and “utility” are two different things

» Free and “utility” are two different things | Rational rants | ZDNet.com:

Wilson’s suggestion that an entrepreneurial company might offer access for free in the airport is somewhat problematic, in my estimation. Nothing is free for a company, so let’s not try to dress up other forms of quid pro quo as “free.”

It’s my new ZD blog, you can read the rest there….