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I recently wrote a column for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on how news-gathering works on blogs:

Wikipedia gets it wrong all the time. So do bloggers. But then, so do newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. The interesting thing about systems isn’t how they perform when they’re working to specification, it’s what happens when they fail.

Blogs, Wikipedia, and other online media fail gracefully indeed. When a newspaper gets a story wrong, it can take 24 hours to get a correction out – if it corrects it at all. There’s no ready way to link criticism of a newspaper article with the article itself. Certainly, you can’t make the edits yourself.

But if you find an error in a Wikipedia entry, you can fix it yourself. You can join the discussion about whether a blogger got it wrong. Automated tools like Technorati link together all the different blogs discussing the same topic, turning them into a conversation.

2 Responses to “CBC column on authority and the Internet”

  1. Adam Lipkin

    And in addition, once that errant newspaper article has been published, any corrections only appear in another edition of the paper; all copies of the original article still contain the mistakes (although you’ll occasionally see a newspaper correct an online version of an article). Once a blog story has been commented on or a Wikipedia entry has been edited, the corrected or annotated content is already in place.

  2. NeilW

    Oh, BTW, I found this REALLY funny on your very own site about the availablility of a video:

    “Two years ago, I spoke at Microsoft Research, giving a talk called “DRM and MSFT: A Product No Customer Wants.” The talk (see the transcript) has become a very widely cited resource on DRM, and has been translated into several languages, repurposed as an audiobook and a PowerPoint presentation, and so on. The video has apparently been one of the most-requested videos on the Microsoft internal network for years.

    Now Microsoft has released this video to the public, though you need Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player to see it.”

    Let’s repeat that: YOU NEED MS IE AND WMP TO SEE IT!!! Talk about double-standards! Shall I now write an article about if I want to change browsers from IE to Firefox in future I am now locked in because I can’t watch my videos anymore?

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