Revert Wars

Reading Technology Review’s piece on Larry Sanger, co-creator of Wikipedia, discovered for the first time that Sanger is “is a professional epistemologist -— a philosopher who explores the very nature and sources of knowledge.” If it seems odd that someone who pursues truth for a living would be so intimately involved with a project that lacks traditional processes of verification, Sanger makes the distinction between “absolute knowledge,” which derives from pure reason, and “received knowledge,” which is the subject of an encyclopedia:

The sort of claims one can make in the form ‘It is generally known that….

The punchline: Sanger no longer contributes to Wikipedia, “in part because of the lingering sting of some particularly nasty revert wars” (where revert wars are epic battles raged by Wiki authors busy undoing one another’s changes, struggling for control over some point or fact).

Thanks Weblogsky

2 Replies to “Revert Wars”

  1. I don’t know much about Wikipedia. But the the first time I saw it, I was thinking “This is no good. It will never work. Humans cannot resist undoing other people’s work and opinions.”
    So I forgot about Wikipedia…

    Didn’t know it was called “Revert Wars” though. Funny. I’d call it “Undo Wars”.

  2. Actually, the amazing this is that it *does* work so amazingly well. Look up almost any topic, and you’ll find surprisingly accurate coverage (because on whole, humans know about things, and what you get from a wikipedia entry is our knowlede “on whole”).

    The Revert Wars are fairy infrequent actually, and are mostly limited to controversial topics such as the definition of a “freedom fighter.”

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