Big Thinkers on Wikipedia’s 10th Anniversary

Wikipedia just turned 10 this weekend. And, to mark the occasion, The Atlantic asked ten “All-Star Thinkers” respond to a simple question: “What do you think about Wikipedia?” The responses? Well, they express the usual range of opinions, from appreciation to something approaching disdain. Take for example the two excerpts below:

Yochai Benkler, professor, Harvard Law School: That’s the biggest gift that Wikipedia has given to us — a vision of practical utopia. What gift can we best give back? Perhaps it is just this, to recognize the transformative role that thousands of individuals have played for all of us in how we can imagine our lives together as productive, engaged, social beings.

Jonathan Lethem, novelist, Pomona professor: With all respect to the noble volunteer army, I call it death by pedantry. Question: hadn’t we more or less come to understand that no piece of extended description of reality is free of agendas or ideologies? This lie, which any Encyclopedia implicitly tells, is cubed by the infinite regress of Wikipedia tinkering-unto-mediocrity.

Other contributors include Clay Shirky, NYU journalism prof Jay Rosen, and Mariette DiChristina (editor-in-chief, Scientific American). Get the full list here.

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