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Yochai Benkler on Wikipedia - Dictionary of Arguments

Zittrain I 198
Wikipedia/Benkler/Zittrain: Wikipedia, as a tool of group generativity ((s) for generativity see terminology/Zittrain), reflects the character of thousands of people. Benkler compares Wikipedia’s entry on Barbie dolls to that of other encyclopedias developed in more traditional ways, and finds that most of the others fail to make mention of any of the controversies surrounding Barbie as a cultural icon. (1) Wikipedia has extensive discussion on the topic, and Britannica has a share, too. Benkler freely concedes that a tool of group generativity like Wikipedia is not the only way to include important points of view that might not accord with the more monolithic views of what he calls the “industrial information economy.” More traditional institutions, such as universities, have established a measure of independence, too. And he also acknowledges that tools of group generativity can be abused by a group; there can be powerful norms that a majority enforces upon a minority to squelch some views. But he rightly suggests that the world is improved by a variety of models of production of culture,
I 199
models that draw on different incentives, with different biases, allowing people to be exposed to a multiplicity of viewpoints, precluding a monopoly on truth. The same can be true of our technology, here the technology that undergirds our access to those viewpoints, and our ability to offer our own. Can groups be trusted to behave well in the absence of formal government to rein in their excesses? (2)

2. See Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty, in FOUR ESSAYS ON LIBERTY 122 (1969).

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Benkler I
Yochai Benkler
The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom New Haven 2007

Zittrain I
Jonathan Zittrain
The Future of the Internet--And How to Stop It New Haven 2009

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