One Wikipedian's nostalgia on writing for a traditional encyclopedia

Wikipedian Alex Golub, at the anthropology group blog Savage Minds, describes his thoughts as he is asked to write an article for a traditional encyclopdia for the first time. 

Wikipedia is a place where you must learn to think for yourself, encyclopedias are places where you are told what to believe.

Of course, there is a lot to like about the arbitrary exercise of authority if you have faith in the authority in question: the gullible are not duped, the conspiracy theorists are silenced... if you are pessimistic about the capacities of your students to know and learn then feeding them the party line is, to you at least, the best way to protect them.

But we as educators can and must believe that our students — and
everyone else! — is capable of more than this... attaining intellectual maturity requires immersion in the rough waters of public debate, which is exactly what Wikipedia is. The real danger of Wikipedia is its use by people made gullible by a system which promises them that someone, somewhere knows The Truth.

Read the full monologue.

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