[Ffmpeg-devel] Re: [OT] Wikipedia

Robert Swain robert.swain
Sat Mar 4 01:53:54 CET 2006

On Saturday 04 March 2006 00:10, M?ns Rullg?rd wrote:
> Diego Biurrun <diego at biurrun.de> writes:
> > On Fri, Mar 03, 2006 at 11:13:38PM +0000, M?ns Rullg?rd wrote:
> >> Diego Biurrun <diego at biurrun.de> writes:
> >> > On Fri, Mar 03, 2006 at 10:36:34PM +0000, M?ns Rullg?rd wrote:
> >> >> Diego Biurrun <diego at biurrun.de> writes:
> >> >> > On Fri, Mar 03, 2006 at 01:05:45PM -0800, Roman Shaposhnick wrote:
> >> >> >> P.S. It funny how nowadays I tend to hand WikiPedia links much
> >> >> >> more frequently than I used to -- OpenSource approach to knowledge
> >> >> >> definitely is the best thing since OpenSource software ;-)
> >> >> >
> >> >> > I wholeheartedly agree.  Wikipedia is just amazing...
> >> >>
> >> >> And just like open source software the quality varies immensely. 
> >> >> Some articles are excellent, while others contain outright lies.  Not
> >> >> to mention the editing wars going on with some articles...  The
> >> >> technical articles tend to be above average though.
> >> >
> >> > The real question, though, is how it compares to traditional paper
> >> > encyclopedias.  Yes, the quality varies, but overall I'm very
> >> > satisfied. Furthermore it's very hard to find a topic that is not
> >> > covered nowadays. Have you ever tried to look up - say - mathematical
> >> > subjects in an encyclopedia?
> >>
> >> The Encyclopaedia Britannica has a solid treatment of quite complex
> >> scientific topics.  IIRC, there is an article on calculus spanning on
> >> the order of 100 pages in fairly fine print.  It's not comparable to a
> >> proper book on the matter, but that's not the purpose of an
> >> encyclopedia.
> >
> > I'll give you an example: I recently needed to know the exact difference
> > between perfect and maximal matchings on graphs, because the book I was
> > studying from was unclear.  I looked through several math books to no
> > avail, but I immediately found it on Wikipedia...
> Good for you.  The problem with Wikipedia, like almost everything on
> the Internet, is that you can't quite trust it.  I put more faith in
> something I read in a book by a reputable author than what some
> anonymous person has scribbled on a web page.

Surely that's because of the ratification process that goes into such 
publications. If I ever make a reference in a piece for my university I use 
paper references, simply because of the peer review process that has to be 
undertaken. That's not to say I don't use or appreciate Wikipedia, but I 
think I consider it more fallible than a properly reviewed article for 
technical subjects.

On occasion, I would expect certain people in the general public 
(fanatics? :)) to have as good or better knowledge about some subjects in the 
public eye than someone writing an encyclopedia. (c.f. the 'hollaback girl' 

As it progresses over coming years, due to its accessibility and availability 
by everyone under the sun be they academics or general public, I think 
Wikipedia could surpass traditional paper encyclopedia. As long as academics 
are willing to entrust their wisdom to the website for free and help the 

Just my two pence,

More information about the ffmpeg-devel mailing list