The pedia phenomenon

Just as open source software offers a wide range of attitudes, from the near-proprietary to the entirely altruistic, so it is increasingly with content, thanks to the pedia phenomenon.

Euthenasia propaganda from Disapedia
I have decided most critics of Wikipedia miss the point.

They focus on the wiki aspect, the idea that many contributors can offer their input, and the chance that some of that input is wrong.

What they are missing is the pedia part. That is, anyone can start their own compilation of stuff using these open source tools, and self-select the group's internal reality, for display to the world.

The best example of this is Conservapedia. It's a version of the same software, for conservatives. I know there are people who take it seriously. I personally find it unintentionally hilarious.

Or take Disapedia. (This piece of Nazi pro-euthenasia propaganda is currently on the site's main page.) This is a version of the software for people with disabilities. A lot of great insight, a lot of information, but also, like Conservapedia, a direct view into the collective worldview of the people in the community.

It goes on and on. There are pedia sites of all types and a site called Pedia.Com which tries to link to them all (while missing the two I've just mentioned).

The point of the pedia phenomenon is that self-organizing groups create their own collective wisdom, and the rest of us then get to see into the minds of those writers and editors.

Just as open source software offers a wide range of attitudes, from the near-proprietary to the entirely altruistic, so it is increasingly with content, thanks to the pedia phenomenon.

Whether all of that content is "right" or "wrong," it's out there and organized and searchable. You can enter, not just someone else's mind as with a blog, but a whole group of minds, a collective consciousness that may amaze you, amuse you, or even horrify you.

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