22 March 2008

Wikipedia: size doesn't matter

Pullum over at Language Log gives a more cogent dismissal of word count metrics in Wikipedia articles than I could express. He's responding to a snotty put-down of Wikipedia by of all people a professor of media studies, citing the comparative word counts of Klingon and Latin language entries (imperfectly counted, no less) as proof of Wikipedia's worthlessness. The counter-argument? First, when an encyclopedia isn't bound by paper, articles of lesser importance (however that is determined) no longer need to be edited for size. As I've often argued when people say that boring blogs are somehow useless (ahem), the internet you don't approve of can easily be ignored without diminishing the experience. Second, if an important article is too small, where're the fucking specialists interested enough to add content and help millions of others understand their specialty? If you don't have enough passion on your specialty to communicate it to others, maybe that's a more useful metric of the importance of a subject.

[ posted by sstrader on 22 March 2008 at 3:02:14 PM in Language & Literature ]