Week 9: Wikipedia: An Exclusionist’s point of view.

In order to choose one side of the debate, I would consider myself an exclusionist. Exclusionists can be defined as the ones who “…favor clear and relatively rigorous standards for accepting articles…an article that they believe does not meet such standards be removed, or deleted.” (Carr, N. 2011 pp: 197). Carr (2011) further explains differences between the philosophies and perceptions of an inclusionist versus an exclusionist. He states that an exclusionist perceives Wikipedia as an encyclopedia versus inclusionists who “essence [Wikipedia] as a wiki” (Carr, N. 2011 pp: 198).
There are several advantages to Wikipedia from an exclusionist’s point of view. Firstly, Wikipedia does not have a strict and a specialized editorial board like Encyclopedia Britannica. There are editors that ‘police’ any submission before approving it but there are no formal editors. Carr writes, “[Wikipedia] has pursued its goal of matching the quality of Encyclopedia Britannica, toward a more traditional editorial, and even corporate structure” (Carr, N. 2011 pp: 195). This quote indicates that one of the goals of Wikipedia is to match its standards with that of other Encyclopedias like Britannica meaning an exclusionist’s philosophy helps Wikipedia achieve its goal enlisted . Also, it is not necessary to have an expert body approving articles before being published on Wikipedia. This decreases efficacy of an article on Wikipedia and makes sense for exclusionists to have a slogan reading, “Wikipedia is not a junkyard”. Wikipedia can’t afford to have poor articles that would undermine its reputation.
Exclusionists, ” are concerned with quality, believing that it is more important to have fewer quality articles than several poorly written and with questionable notability.” (Ford, H. 2011. pp: 262). Schools, colleges and universities discourage use of Wikipedia as a reliable academic reference website. It is important to have a good control over the material being posted on a site like Wikipedia whose purpose is (and should be) to deliver accurate information and this is only possible when there is an reputable and expert board analyzing and approving a contribution. A contributor may or may not be knowledgeable about the topic of interest. At the end, it does matter about the author and editor involved in writing and editing an article respectively, to be posted on Wikipedia.
In last week’s discussion forum, importance and authority involved in shaping social media was discussed. This topic supports an exclusionists’ perspective as it allows people to think whether or not they care about the authorities shaping Wikipedia. Does it matter if somebody with less knowledge about a subject writes/edits articles to be published in Wikipedia or would we care if the information presented to us is misleading? I believe, under these circumstances, it becomes important to have only a handful of participants acting in the capacity of authority and lead Wikipedia for the sake of user’s benefit. In an interview with Elisabeth ‘Elian’ Bauer, she describes her views by stating, “The best articles are typically written by a single or few authors with expertise in the topic. ” (Carr, N. 2011 pp: 196). This quote also signifies an exclusionist’s philosophy as opposed to having a number of people being a part of one article declining its quality. Because it is important to maintain Wikipedia’s quality, exclusionists believe in a ‘strict editorial control’ (Ford, H. 2011 pp: 258).
One of the examples supporting an exclusionist’s view point is that of an article called, “YesAllWomen”. (Dries, K. 2014) mentions about numerous edits to the Wikipedia page for “YesAllWomen” where some details have been manipulated to give the article a ‘neutral point of view’. This example explains why exclusionists emphasize towards a strict editorial board with well knowledgeable individuals in the team to save Wikipedia from containing misleading information.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s