Divides Are a Given


In digital space, where people from all different walks of life can interact with each other, one thing you can always count on is for cultural divides to arise. Divisions can be based on a variety of circumstances. Groups may differ in race, age, religion, economic status, political viewpoints, or any number of other issues. When it comes to wikis, the main divisive topic is credibility, and the divide itself generally falls on a experiential line. You know what I'm talking about, right? All through highschool and into college we were told by just about every teacher that, "WIKIPEDIA ISN'T A CREDIBLE RESEARCH SOURCE!!!!!!"

As Ebersbach, Glaser, Heigl, and Warta state in Wikis: Web Collaboration, "Forgoing an intermediate (quality) control causes many to doubt the credibility of information."

And so those who haven't ventured into the world of wikis tend to distrust them, while those who know how they work don't see a problem with them. For those WikiNoobs it is easy to get stuck in a positive feedback loop. To them, a valid source is one which can be verified to be written by a credible author who is knowledgeable on whatever subject they've written about. It's written, it's done, it cannot be changed. They do not view wikis as credible because anyone can change any of the content on a whim. Because they believe this, they don't dare to investigate any further, and therefor they continue to perpetuate distrust. A WikiPro, on the other hand, tends to be someone who has grown up in a digital world, and they are more trusting of wikis because they are more fluent in the digital culture, and wiki culture in particular. They are aware of how and why soft security works, and so they find wikis trustworthy because they know that errors and intentional deceptions will be corrected.

Wiki Positives
Wikis are good because multiple authors can contribute to the same page and make the content the best it can be. Also about anyone can learn how to use a wiki because of their simplistic style. Wikis are great because people from anywhere collaboratively they are also easy to quickly update, and easy to navigate. Not to mention, most wikis are free and you can edit them in your web browser so all that's necessary is the internet.

Wiki Negatives
It's not easy to verify if the information you are looking at is accurate. The positive of wikis being open to anyone to edit can also be a downfall but this can be regulated to a specific set of users. Sometimes things can also get a bit messy on wikis. Because anyone can create a page there might be a few on the same topic rather than dedicated page.





I'm not sure if its a "generational" divide or a "I know how Wikipedia works and you don't yet" divide. It was pointed out to me by MMorgan in class when I brought up a generational divide when it comes to making personal info public on the Internet. -JennaLong

That is a good point. I was wary of making such a generalization myself, but that was the best way to put it based on my own personal observations. Maybe it would be better described as a divide between the WikiNoobs and WikiPro?
-MelindaSingleton
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