The World and Wikipedia: How we are editing reality
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The World and Wikipedia: How we are editing reality [Hardcover]

Andrew Dalby
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews


'A meticulous and judicious examination of the way [Wikipedia] is put together. An extraordinary world is unveiled...' --London Evening Standard, October 22, 2009

From the Publisher

In a world increasingly shaped by the desire for instant gratification, which now extends beyond mere rampant consumerism into the realm of information, Wikipedia is king. Andrew Dalby's timely book looks beyond the hype of mass collaboration and exposes this phenomenon for what it really is and what it means for all of us - for better and for worse.

From the Author

Even though Wikipedia is ahead with the news when something has happened, you won't rely on Wikipedia for the first news of what's about to happen. I can say now that when the end of the world is imminent an interesting discussion will kick off at [[Talk:Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth]]. Watching the page itself, however, will be no help at all. Anonymous and unsourced edits will be made, and reverted; sourced edits will be made, and reverted; eventually the page will be protected, probably by [[User:J.delanoy]]. Then the lights will go out ...

For further (and even more practical) insights, read the book!

From the Inside Flap

Wikipedia has emerged as the reference source that most of us turn to most of the time. But how much do we know about it? And is it good enough? As mass collaboration gathers pace, this timely book examines what our dependence on one online encyclopedia means - now and in the future.

Starting with a brief history of encyclopedias up to 2001 and covering the astonishing expansion of Wikipedia from then on, The World and Wikipedia looks at why we hate Wikipedia but still use it, and why we love it. It examines the people who wiki, cybercreation and wikivoyeurism, and draws its own conclusions on why you should trust Wikipedia... and why you shouldn't.

From the Back Cover

Take any article in Wikipedia. Who wrote it? Where did it come from? Now take those unconvincing, badly-written sentences in the middle. Why did someone add them? How long will it be before someone else deletes them? And how many people will have read them before they are removed?

Five years ago such questions didn't matter, because Wikipedia was one source among many, and no one took it very seriously. Two years ago they hardly mattered, because the newspapers said Wikipedia couldn't be trusted, and there was always a more 'reliable' source to check later.

But suddenly, these questions really do matter. With all its nonsense, illiteracy and unreliability, Wikipedia is one of the most visited sites on the web. Whatever they say, most people rely on it most of the time. Those other sources won't be around much longer, and Wikipedia will be the best there is. But is it good enough to rule the world of knowledge?

About the Author

Andrew Dalby is a contributor to Wikipedia and an administrator on Vicipaedia, its slightly less-known Latin equivalent. He is a writer of reference books and is known for writings on languages and food history. Recent books include Language in Danger (2002) on the disastrous loss of linguistic diversity, Flavours of Byzantium (2003) on the tastes and aromas of the Byzantine Empire, Rediscovering Homer (2006), a new approach to the earliest Greek poetry; also Bacchus (2003) and Venus (2005), light-hearted biographies of two of the less conventional classical gods. His books have been translated into ten languages: he sells particularly well in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, but has no idea why. He studied classics and linguistics at Cambridge. An escaped librarian, he lives in France, where he writes, grows fruit, and makes cider.
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