Web knowledge: the pros and cons

Two stories in the Obsever with differing views on the utility/desireablity of on-line self publishing. John Naughton on how the Wikipedia is already leaving the Encyclopedia standing, and Peter Preston on how bloggers can clog up big media and manipulate news coverage (scroll down).

  • peteb


    Glenn Reynolds recently had an interesting take on Wikipedia, relating to the entry ‘defining’ the Instapundit blog. He makes the valid point that, while the process of editing and correcting of an entry takes place, Wikipedia runs the risk of presenting false information as fact – as he puts it, “Presumably it will be corrected in time, but unlike a blog, users are unlikely to engage in repeat visits to the same entry”

  • peteb

    One other point, this time on Peter Preston’s opinion piece.

    “We know all about the BBC’s troubles, but next in line it could be your British morning paper. Bloggers can become real cloggers when they start kicking editorial doors open.”

    What? No mention of the Guardian’s own goal [Operation Clark County] AT ALL?

    Not that Peter Preston, former Guardian editor and current Guardian columnist, might have a particularly large axe to grind when it comes to blogs, that is. No. Not at all. Fair and balanced as ever in his reportage.

  • Emily

    “If Hitler were alive today, he’d have his own blog.”

    I look at my own schedule and barely find the time to blog. I can’t imagine Der Fuhrer could have managed, what with invading neighboring countries and plotting to wipe out the Jews and everything (though the idea would make a rather macabre black satire site. “Zis morning I had die strudel mit Eva und ze kaffee as schwartz as my soul”). Congratulations to Randall Beck for saying that. It is, hands down, the stupidest criticism I have heard of blogs to date.

  • James

    “Peter Preston on how bloggers can clog up big media and manipulate news coverage “

    The damage blogs do in propagating lies is old, old, old as Whitewater. The food chain runs from pond scum to the legitimate media. It works thusly:
    A slimer drips a lie into a blog, in this case Drudge, which is seen as a legitimate source by the right wing talk show circuit and works up a firestorm for a day or two amongst the angry white males.
    This, in turn, is seen as a legitimate source by the UK and US tabloids which run it for all it’s worth.
    If it gets enough play in the tabloids, a mainstream columnist might comment on it and thus makes it fair game for the nightly news.
    The networks run it by reporting that someone else ran the story. This obviates a fact check.

    And so it goes.

    BTW, That link to Wikipedia led me to the Torygraph and Kevin Myers. I feel so slimed now.