Thursday, February 22, 2007
The dumbing down of the already dumb.
Via PZ Myers, we discover Wikipedia for the hard of thinking.
HEAD-SHAKING AFTERSNARK: Perhaps the funniest thing about the Conservapedia is how it takes the single redeeming feature of the Wikipedia ... and junks it.
The Wikipedia has its flaws, of course, the major one being that it's susceptible to contributors with a political or ideological axe to grind. But as long as there are contributors and readers to watch for that sort of thing, the idea is that extreme and dishonest submissions from both sides will get weeded out eventually, and the content of the Wikipedia should (theoretically, of course) approach something at least marginally resembling objective reality.
Which is why it's so amusing that the founders of the Conservapedia have taken this single example of self-correcting behaviour and thrown it away, turning that web site into the most outrageous example of a hermetically sealed echo chamber imaginable.
It's hard to imagine a more self-defeating project -- trying to design an online knowledge base that, right up front, admits that it has an inherent ideological bias.
I'm not sure whether to be amused or horrified. Maybe I'll go for a little of both.