Wikis Suck

Back in 2004, I was looking for sources to reference and cite for some articles I was writing. And I had trouble finding results that weren’t from Wikipedia, or a site that blatantly steals from Wikipedia. Wikis in general have polluted search engine results over the years, and it’s gotten difficult to find anything else.

I have sometimes complained about my hatred for all these wiki projects on IRC. So I thought perhaps I should articulate those thoughts on the web. It probably won’t stop me from complaining about it on IRC, though.

When you have a big anonymous collaboration blob, individuality ceases to exist. And in turn, credible expertise also ceases to exist. Wikis themselves (or at least the better ones) rely heavily on such credible, individual expertise to cite as sources for their articles. And if they completely displace individual experts, then there would be no one left to cite as a source for the information in the big anonymous collaboration blob. At that point, no information is reliable. We won’t reasonably be able to trust anything unless we turn into a hive mind civilization.

In other words, wikis will turn us into the Borg.

Another problem I have with the loss of individuality is the inherent loss of accountability. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, because someone else will be there to fix it for you. Sure, it’s nice to have help from others when you need it, but it’s also important to learn from your mistakes and better yourself. What incentive is there to improve if you can just allow someone else to pick up your slack? If everyone takes that attitude, in future generations, there will eventually be no one left to correct any mistakes.

So we’ll be lazy, stupid Borg.

And because the majority of people who work on wikis are likely not professional researchers or analysts, they’re prone to a lack of professionalism in general. As an example, one thing I love to complain about is Bulbapedia’s policy on the names of the Sevii Islands. The entire argument is full of holes, and the analogies are ridiculously off the mark. I would love to jump in and point out all the flaws in it, but then I’d be going against my anti-wiki stance. And I won’t do it here because I’d be going a bit off-topic (though I may do it some other time, because I feel compelled to explain myself now). But my point is, this is a situation where one group has pushed a crazy, illogical stance on the entire site, and no one seems to have the ability or will to prove them wrong. There is a Dragon Ball wiki with a much, much worse example of that same problem, but I don’t even want to give them the traffic. (I’m sure you can find it yourself rather easily if you want.)

However, I do consider Bulbapedia one of the better wikis out there. And if a good wiki can have at least one major flaw, I can only imagine the problems average (or worse) wikis have. But as far as groups of people pushing inaccurate information goes, what if corporations or other influential entities started doing it for their own personal benefit? Or even just biased fanboys?

We would become lazy, stupid, illogical Borg who think that Twilight is a good movie and James Buchanan was a good president.

I don’t want that to happen. So I will continue to fight the good fight against the prevalence of wikis by complaining on both IRC and the web. I will also continue my weak attempt to fill the web with real, non-wiki webpages. Heavily researched and personally accountable, of course.

I had intended to include a bibliography at the end of this, but it doesn’t look like there’s anything I can reference. My examples were cited, I’m the reference for my anecdotes, and the rest is just personal, hyperbole-filled theories based on (what should be) common knowledge and common sense.

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Categories: Contemplation, General

3 Responses to “Wikis Suck”

  1. sepultribe says:

    trusting wikipedias blindly surely can be very hazardous, as they can be very easily exploited by shady people to write what they want, how they want it and brainwash peoples’ minds.

    very nice post Rachel

  2. Lucky Joestar says:

    I’m glad you pointed out poor fact checking, but my biggest pet peeve with wikis, Wikipedia included, is the poor grammar, punctuation and usage that plagues most wikis today. I recently ordered to cancel my account, as I had grown disgusted with one particular community that seemed so proud of their inferior writing skills that they actually undid my edits after I corrected a page for usage. I undid their back edits, but it probably won’t be long before they make it wrong again. I guess some people enjoy looking stupid.

  3. virushunter says:

    I agree with most of what you said, but I think categorically saying “wikis suck” is a bit harsh. More famous wiki-style sites like Wikipedia and about a thousand or so on are going to attract morons who can’t spell or use proper grammar. is plain horrible today, mostly wikis on Jersey Shore and every insignificant video game ever made. I had a wiki there for a personal project, but several changes to the look of Wikia sites (including the horrible look they forced on everyone a few years ago that we could do little more than change the colour of) as well as the declining quality of the contributors made me leave.

    Many of the wikis on Wikidot, where I have moved my site, are good examples of how a wiki can be good when there is a technically proficient and intelligent community behind them. The markup language is different and you have to edit a CSS if you want it to look much different from the basic site they give you. Things like this keep out the cancer that has overtaken Wikipedia and Wikia. I do save my page sources in both Wikimedia and Wikidot syntax in case I ever need to move again though.