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维基百科回归“传统”

来源:天星 更新日期:2009-09-02 点击:

Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, will go down as an internet pioneer. It operates on the principle of open access to all of its users – anyone can edit its articles. But now the site has formalised restrictions on the kinds of entries that new users of the site should be allowed to change unaided.

在线百科全书维基百科(Wikipedia)将跌下互联网先驱的宝座。它的运作理念是向所有用户自由开放,任何人都可以编辑其中的文章。而如今,该网站已正式对允许网站新用户独立更改的条目类别加以限制。

This seems to cut to the quick of what Wikipedia is about. The assumption underpinning the site was that, by asking its millions of readers to check entries, errors would be caught and “ ... usually corrected quickly”. The reality was a little more complicated.

这似乎直指维基百科宗旨的要害。支撑该网站运作的基本假定是:通过要求数以百万计的读者核查条目,就能发现错误,“通常也会快速纠正错误”。现实情况则要更复杂一些。

Some areas, particularly politics, attract partisans and vandals. Hoaxers also had their say. These troublemakers' efforts overshadowed the considerable benefits of the accumulation of online knowledge in some specific areas, such as economics and science.

一些领域(特别是政治方面)的条目,会引来强硬支持者和肆意破坏者。恶作剧者也能发表意见。这些麻烦制造者的行为为某些领域(例如经济和科学)在线知识积累带来的巨大益处蒙上了阴影。

With this latest step, Wikipedia is moving a little closer towards being like a normal encyclopaedia, where specialist editors make sure that, as far as is possible, the words that they print are true. This small shift back to more old-fashioned means is, paradoxically, progress.

通过上述最新举动,维基百科向普通百科全书又靠近了一步。在普通百科全书中,专业编辑会尽可能确保,他们出版的字词是正确的。矛盾之处在于,这种向更传统模式的回归是一种进步。

The decision formalises what had been a haphazard response to troublemakers, and is a belated recognition that the idea that an open-access encyclopaedia could edit itself was over-optimistic. The very notion that truth would be checked by a consensus of passing conscientious browsers was far-fetched. Rather than being the sum of the knowledge of the people who have visited the site, each individual entry is only ever as accurate as the last person who decided to edit it.

维基百科的决定将对麻烦制造者的随意反应证实确定下来,姗姗来迟地承认了开放式百科全书能够实现自我编纂的想法有些过于乐观。认为路过的尽责浏览者的共识能够核实条目真实性的想法,有些不切实际。各个条目并不是网站访问者知识的汇总,而只是反映了最后一个决定编辑该条目的人知识的准确度。

Wikipedia editors have no incentive to be right, or to be objective. Some politicians have been caught polishing their own CVs. In practice, expertise carries little weight on the site (not least because, as one high-profile case illustrated, editors can easily fake their own credentials).

维基百科的编辑们没有保持正确或客观的动机。人们发现一些政客在美化自己的简历。实际上,专业技能在该网站并没有什么份量(特别是考虑到,正如一个颇受关注的案例所体现的那样,编辑们很容易就能伪造自己的资信)。

The high-tech evangelists point out that offline specialists are also biased and can be prone to errors. Even the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the supposed gold standard in traditional publishing contains a partial view of the world. But, the traditional form still has great strengths because it acknowledges that not all opinions or channels of knowledge are equal.

高科技信奉者指出,传统专家也会有失公允,也可能会犯错。即使是被视为传统出版业金科玉律的《大英百科全书》(Encyclopaedia Britannica),对世界的看法也会有失偏颇。但传统模式仍具有很大优势,因为它承认,并非所有的观点或知识渠道都是平等的。

The reforms at Wikipedia mark a small, but significant, step in the evolution of the internet. The web has been a brilliant, liberating and disruptive innovation. It has created opportunities for incumbents and start-ups alike.

维基百科的改革是互联网发展进程中的一小步,但这一步却意义重大。维基百科是一个卓越的、解放思想的突破性创新,为在职者和初创者都创造了机遇。

But there is a temptation for enthusiasts to work up grand unifying theories about how the internet should be used. For the most part, these are harmless. But we should not forget that the fingers on the keyboard are still connected to humans, flawed as they are.

但对于狂热分子而言,建立有关互联网使用的大统一理论的诱惑仍然存在。大多数情况下,这些理论是无害的。但我们不应忘记,键盘上的手指仍然是与人类相连的,也和人类一样存在缺陷。

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