Knowledge construction and Wikipedia?

I think I have miss interpreted this section of our assigned tasks for this week.  I guess that is what you get for working late into the evening.  That said, I came across some interesting points, both in relation to the book ‘Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room‘ by David Weinberger and in an additional video I found.

Yes, I thought we had to find our own review of the book and an additional video that highlight some of the key points being made there in about our construction of knowledge online – lesson learnt!  I have decided to share a few quotes from the article and video anyway for no other reason than they are quite interesting.

Article from Forbes – The Web: Too Big Too Know? by Steven Rosenbaum

“The Knowledge Triangle presented first in 1988 by Russel Akkoff presented DIKW (Data, Information,  Knowledge, Wisdom) as the basis for our information ecology.  Weinberger says our Information Age was built on this pyramid – creating an elaborate filtering system to sort Wisdom from Data.” (Rosenbaum, 2012)

knowledge pyramid

“Weinberer says what we’re losing is the basic strategy of knowing by reducing  – the info triangle no longer has a point at the top –  it’s cut off a the middle – an ever expanding midde.” (Rosenbaum, 2012)

“Core to Weinberger’s concern [about the internet] is the idea that the has become not a marketplace of ideas, but of echoes.

He welcomes the serendipity of exploring the world of linked idea, yet is concerned that the web is distracting,  too filled with… serendipity.

He celebrates the multitude of voices that are available on the web,  yet suggests that we complain that uncredentialed unreliable people get the same megaphones as scholars and trained journalists.” (Rosenbaum, 2012)

Weinberger’s thoughts seem, in part, to be reflected through the early stages of this ‘Head to Head’ video by Meddi Hasan, titled ‘Will the internet set us free?’

The interview was conducted with co-founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales and a panel of experts including; Herman Chinery-Hesse, Bob Ayers, Isabella Sankey and Oliver Kamm.  The video itself is pretty long, delving into privacy and all manner of tangents but there are some interesting points made about Wikipedia which I have included based on reference to it in the video David provided and its clear link to the point made by Rosenbaum in his review of David Weinberger’s book.

Medhi Hasan: “The question then becomes, can an online encyclopedia … that anyone can edit – can it be a truly accurate, reliable, high-quality source of content?”

Jimmy Wales:“…one of the important things to understand about Wikipedia is that it’s a dialogue. It’s a discussion.  It’s a, you know, everything is open to revision.  Everything is open to discussion, debate, to challenge.”

Medhi Hasan: “You talk about the community and yet how can a teenager sitting in his bedroom be accorded the same weight and credibility and authority as a tenured professor on a subject that may be the specialist subject, the lifetime research of that professor?”

 Medhi Hasan: “The guy who created Wikipedia with you, Larry Sanger, he says Wikipedia lacks credibility because of, quote, “anti-elitism or lack of respect for expertise”. Now, that’s undeniable, isn’t it?”

Jimmy Wales: “We are not anti-elitist. We’re anti-credentialist. We are very elitist in the sense that we want people who know what they’re talking about.”

Oliver Kamm: “My objection to Wikipedia, Mehdi used the phrase anti-elitist, you responded by saying it’s anti-credentialist. My objection to Wikipedia is that it’s anti-intellectual. I’ve never come across an academic enthused by the subject who’s unwilling to discuss it or to debate the subject matter. The problem with Wikipedia is that you’re democratic, not in the sense of no one has the last word by credentials, but, anyone can join in. There is no way in which Wikipedia can filter genuine scholarship from amateur enthusiasm.”

Jimmy Wales: “Your view of Wikipedia is just simply false. This idea that we would regard everybody’s opinion as equally valid – this is not true. The open model is absolutely subject to some difficulties and weaknesses. But such as democracy. You know, this view that somehow Wikipedia is anti-intellectual is false. I mean we’re absolutely in the tradition, the enlightenment tradition, of reason, debate and discussion, and openness to new ideas.”


Al Jazeera (2014, April 4). Head to Head – Will the internet set us free? [Video file]. Video posted to

Rosenbaum, S. (2012) The Web: Too Big Too Know?. Retrieved September 1, 2014.


knowledge pyramid

Creatice Commons_by-sa Image RobOnKnowledge


One response to “Knowledge construction and Wikipedia?

  1. Pingback: As a student, participation in NGL was useful for me. | (sm)art education network

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s