User:Anonymous Dissident/Why Wikipedia is not a sinking ship
A point of recent concern is that Wikipedia is broken, and that action – however extreme – needs to be taken to the end of reviving the system. I feel the need to refute this notion.
Wikipedia is only broken if you want it to be. There are content editors who are not even aware of the politics of the angst-ridden Wikipedia: namespace, who chug happily along generating the encyclopedia (which, dear reader, is what we're actually here for). The fact is that much of the "administration" side of Wikipedia has no bearing on the encyclopedia at all. There are many processes that exist either for their own sake or for the sake of other processes that also have no bearing on the encyclopedia. In my eyes, complete separation from the encyclopedia is exactly equal to complete superfluity. As it happens, the malfunction often spoken of is usually particular to systems that are in the "complete superfluity" category. It is to be concluded, therefore, that much of the "brokeness" surrounds things that aren't even material to the Wikimedian vision.
Now, the claim that the encyclopedia is broken requires separate treatment to the claim that the administration is broken. It is not reasonable to argue that there is nothing wrong with the content of Wikipedia. A lot of it is rubbish, a lot of it is libel, a lot of it is false, a lot of it is biased, a lot of it is obsolete, and a lot of it is probably copyright violative. However, I put it to the reader that the overall product is pretty good for 17 years of volunteer-driven work, especially given that the encyclopedia has been engineered in an environment never seen before. We are, and always will be, a work in progress; we're in it for the long haul and there are no time constraints. Improvement is constantly occurring, progress towards solving many of the problems is being made, and ameliorative initiatives are actively in place. To dismiss Wikipedia as "broken" at this point in time is like dismissing the foundations of a house as "un-homely"; it's far too early in the game to deal such an absolute.
It is unwise to speculate upon the future of this project, prodigious and volatile as it is; but that Wikipedia has not completely degenerated into a seething, anarchic, dystopian mess in spite of its extremely open nature lends me to optimism. We must be doing something right if the structure is holding up relatively well.
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia is failing – an oppositional view; this essay is, in part, a response
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not failing – an essay largely aligned with this one
- User:Rootology/Wikipedia is broken and failing – another take from User:Rootology
- m:Fundraising 2007/Why Give blog/Wikimedia: The Future – in which I convey the philosophies that underpin this essay