Two recent examples of Wikipedia confusion regarding people that I’ve read raise questions about whether Wikipedia is just reproducing the same hierarchic structure that we find everywhere else.
I can’t fully put my finger on why the media-centric thing bugs me, but it does. The media has decided that i’m an expert because of my knowledge in a specific domain; Wikipedia has decided that i’m notable because i’m on TV. Why is Wikipedia not using transitivity and saying that i’m notable because of my knowledge in a specific domain? Why does it matter more that i’m on TV than why i’m on TV?
Now, i love Wikipedia. But i think that there’s something broken here. Personally, i would rather my entry been deleted than have this very inaccurate and media-centric entry written. (Deletion would’ve been far more entertaining.) I think that this approach to notability makes Wikipedia look downright foolish. Personally, i’m embarrassed by this public representation full of mistakes. There has to be a better way to handle living people. The “no original research” approach is really not working here.
I’m sure things will improve, people will edit the entries, arguments will occur over whether new policies should be adopted or not. But the real key is not to me the factual basis of the entries in question - it is the definition of notability and expert.
The problem partly stems from defining knowledge in subfields that don’t have a wide exposure in the media. Social network analysis and education blogging are two emerging fields that still don’t have a large presence in the media.
Based on my recent subscription to Newsweek the mainstream media is just as boringly sycophantic as ever. I’m particularly disturbed by the question of what are the new ‘ivies’ in education. Education has too much prestige chasing as it is.