User:Alan Liefting/Essays/The sum of all human knowledge

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The sum of all human knowledge?


Jimmy Wales wants Wikipedia to be the sum of human knowledge. This is a bold but laudable goal. Is it really able to be achieved? Should a limitation be placed on the extent of documenting the sum of human knowledge? The sum of human knowledge is an extremely large body of work. Wikipedia does limit it to that which is notable and verifiable, but even with these limitations there is huge amount of information that could be incorporated into Wikipedia . Should a level of notability be set such that all topics are included and those below are not (ie ignore the current level of establishing notability). This raises many questions of course. What is the level set at? How is notability established across topics in different fields of knowledge?

Looking at one topic area, namely books, is an instructive exercise. Wikipedia already has many articles on books. All the books that fit within the Wikipedia requirements of notability and verifiability for books would probably amount to the total number of articles current on Wikipedia. Books are often reviewed so it is easy to obtain the necessary verification of the article contents. Now even if less that half of Wikipedia articles were about books would mean that the whole of Wikipedia is skewed to only one range of articles. There is already a degree of dissatisfaction with the inclusion of some articles relating to popular culture. The Pokemon character is a case in point. Do we carry on using the deletion process for article inclusion or should some sort of metric be developed so an article can be assigned a number to determine inclusion into Wikipedia?


-- Alan Liefting (talk) - 23:30, 21 December 2009 (UTC)