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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves, 2 Jun 2009
This review is from: The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia (Paperback)
I'll put my cards on the table by declaring that I am somewhat sceptical of the rise of Wikipedia, and hoped that this book might give me reason to invest a higher level of trust in what Andrew Lih describes as the World's Greatest Encyclopaedia.

Overall the book displays many of the same traits that are to be found in Wikipedia itself, namely a lack of structure, an abundance of technical jargon, and the impression that it has been written for an already committed and convinced audience. As Andrew Lih is a self-confessed Wikipedia insider, the book does occasionally seem to resemble a roll-call of many of the most prolific contributors to the website.

The majority of the book is concerned with the technology underlying Wikipedia, and is therefore awash with references which may be meaningful to the IT specialist, but not to the general reader. If Cancelbots, DMOZ, GoogleBomb, LISP, NeXT and Slashdot are part of your everyday vocabulary, you'll be in seventh heaven. On the other hand if references to The Chewbacca Defense, Croydon Facelift and Flying Spaghetti Monster, written by contributors with names such as The Cunctator, Essjay, Raul 654 and Plautus Satire are not your cup of tea, then the earlier chapters of this book may well leave you cold.

Where the book partly redeems itself is in its brief examination of some of the problems of trust and confidence that Wikipedia has encountered, and inevitably will continue to do so.

Possibly the most enlightening and worrying chapter in the book is that which covers the Crisis in the Wikipedia Community, where Andrew Lih narrates the havoc created by contributors such as Ryan Jordan aka "Essjay" (Wikipedia allows and possibly encourages anonymity, so user names such as this abound throughout the book) who was discovered to have completely fabricated all of those credentials which had allowed him to progress into the inner sanctum of the Wikipedia community. The "Anyone Can Edit" philosophy that lies at the heart of Wikipedia is shown to be seriously flawed in incidents such as that involving John Seigenthaler who, for 132 days in 2005 was mischievously (if not libellously) named on Wikipedia as an accomplice to the assassination of both JFK and Robert Kennedy. Unfortunately, Lih doesn't go into sufficient detail to demonstrate how Wikipedia has implemented any form of robust governance to stop such incidents from occuring again.

Personally, I would have found the book to be of more value if the final section on the way forward for Wikipedia had been expanded upon and developed. Lih acknowledges that overall coherence and stability of individual articles represents a problem for Wikipedia. However, his proud boast that the articles on Britney Spears, Madonna, Star Wars and Pokemon are "detailed, researched and top quality" may be seen by some as evidence that Wikipedia has not acquired the seriousness and gravitas as the print-based encyclopaedias that preceded it. (Incidentally, as Lih points out, the entry on Britney Spears is twice the length as that on Socrates)

If there is one area that is only given lip-service in the book, but which almost deserves a book in its own right it is that of how Wikipedia can replace suspicion with trust in the minds of the occasional visitor, for, as a US comedian and prankster is quoted as saying, "I love Wikipedia.... Any user can change any entry and if enough users agree with them, it becomes true...."

To summarise: it's a book that will certainly make you think, but it will also leave you frustrated!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wikipedia: Lacks Transparency and Accountability, 19 April 2014
"A Bunch of Nobodies......." This is the problem with Wikipedia. Editors and administrators are anonymous. There is no transparency or accountability. It is nothing more that a noticeboard for faceless people to edit. That is why students are warned by colleges and universities not to use it for research purposes. Wikipedia has had its hey day, and now more and more academics are waking up to the fact that it is unreliable, biased and many entries are contentious and self-promoting.
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wikipedia please be open, 4 Mar 2012
By 
Rex Cheung (Main Line, PA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia (Paperback)
Sue (executive manager of wikipedia), below has been posted on amazon.com on a book on wikipedia, how to be open. I am deeply disappointed by the way my wikipedia posts are handles. Please be open about this and respond on amazon.com. I will give you a call too. Thanks a lot, Rex

posting:
To CEO of wikipedia:
I have been warned by wikipedia administrators not to add my accomplishment to the pages below. Please note that Wikipedia is built on open source. While I understand that facts need to be checked, however, deleting my additions without checking with me is not that open. Please note that I have solved an otherwise intractable computing problem. My solution is numerically unique. Please do respond in public on wikipedia and I will respond. Please do let me know what authorities police the wikipedia administrators, and what appeal mechanisms are available to me. Thanks a lot,
Rex

These are the five pages I wanted to update:
[...]

The reviewers who gave the book 1 stars did not get the major point I pointed out there. So I gave these comments 1 star too. I have email Sue Gardner seeking a response. I will call on Wikipeida too. I will post this on amazon.com in other countries as well I will up date on this post (3/3/2012)
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