Saken ble tatt opp på den populære nettsiden Slashdot, der det var flere gode kommentarer fra leserne. Jeg gjengir her noen jeg synes var spesielt innsiktsfulle:
- Wikipedia is ranked higher because it is more linked throughout the web. But this is just another example where PageRank really is working: it's returning results that are most useful to the searcher. For instance for "neutron" on Google, the first link is to Wikipedia. Britannica is nowhere on the first page. If you go directly to Britannica, they do indeed have an article on "neutron". However, it is a "premium topic" and keeps asking me to become a member. So when someone is searching for information about neutrons, what source is more useful: the one that immediately provides some information, with references; or the one that asks you to pay some money (or try the free trial...) in order to get full access, so that you can then figure out whether the information they have is useful or not... ? The fact is that Wikipedia is more heavily linked because it is a more accessible, therefore more useful, source of information. Even if Britannica's content were superior, this would still be the case. The fact that Wikipedia is more expansive, more timely, and frequently more detailed/referenced than Britannica just makes the choice even clearer. PageRank works. Wikipedia is overall a more useful source to the average web surfer, and thus deserves a much higher rank. [lenke tilbake til innlegget]
- I finally did find a Britannica entry on Cherenkov Radiation, featuring all of a paragraph of info and no pictures (had to use Google, not Britannica's own search engine, to find it). Now, compare that to the Wikipedia entry. And they WONDER why Wikipedia's articles rank higher?!?! [lenke tilbake til innlegget]
- If it [Britannica] was free instead of being a subscription based service, it might be more popular. It's an inescapable fact of economics. All other things being roughly equal, a free alternative will beat one that costs money... And for what "people" want, Wikipedia and Britannica are essentially equal. No one's looking for exhaustive scientific research on a subject. They're looking for the atomic number of Tin, or how many eggs a chicken lays per week. Who the fuck is going to pay $70 a year for that? [lenke tilbake til innlegget]
One of the biggest problems with Wikipedia's reliability is that it's unreasonably difficult to cite references, so people don't; which means there's a liberal policy where you don't have to add references, which leads to most people thinking they don't have to do so, that "someone will come along and fix it later". I'm not saying it's super-hard to cite references, just that it very time consuming to work out the syntax and formatting for the citation tag, and then wonder why nothing shows up when you're previewing. And that's only if you can find the method-du-jour for doing so, given that there are sixty million different ways of adding references. Reference citing is a hack on top of the engine that should be part of the core functionality. [lenke tilbake til innlegget]
Det burde ikke være så vanskelig å få ordnet dette. Men: I fjor vår tok jeg kurset INF5180 - Produkt- og prosessforbedring innen systemutvikling ved Universitetet i Oslo, der jeg brukte mye tid på å se på hvordan utviklingen av MediaWiki foregikk fra første gang en interessent (engelsk: «stakeholder») foreslo ett nytt funksjonelt krav til kravet var realisert og rullet ut i programvaren i bruk på Wikipedia. Denne prosessen virket svært tilfeldig, for å si det mildt, så det er ikke grunn til å være optimistisk.
- It's the plethora of sources in the Wikipedia articles that are most valuable. I know the Wikipedia article is a cobbled together opinion that might be worthless and even wrong. So what? I can read the cited sources and form my own opinion, an option which Britannica doesn't really offer. They think they are their own authority and that their readers can end their investigation there because of the high quality. Sorry, that's stupid. Real research doesn't work that way. The days of "proof by authority" are rapidly fading. "[Citation needed]" is the way that real science has always worked, and most other subjects. You figure it out for yourself by reviewing what has already been done, and you back up your claims. It isn't perfect, but it is much better than no citations or "because we're Britannica!" [lenke tilbake til innlegget]