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Saturday, 01 March, 2008

Nicholson Baker Reviews A Wikipedia Book
(with comments)

This is a great read... Nicholson Baker's review of Wikipedia: The Missing Manual: The Charms of Wikipedia.

The first thing I did on Wikipedia (under the username Wageless) was to make some not-very-good edits to the page on bovine somatotropin. I clicked the "edit this page" tab, and immediately had an odd, almost lightheaded feeling, as if I had passed through the looking glass and was being allowed to fiddle with some huge engine or delicate piece of biomedical equipment. It seemed much too easy to do damage; you ask, Why don't the words resist me more? Soon, though, you get used to it. You recall the central Wikipedian directive: "Be Bold." You start to like life on the inside.

After bovine hormones, I tinkered a little with the plot summary of the article on Sleepless in Seattle, while watching the movie. A little later I made some adjustments to the intro in the article on hydraulic fluid-later still someone pleasingly improved my fixes. After dessert one night my wife and I looked up recipes for cobbler, and then I worked for a while on the cobbler article, though it still wasn't right. I did a few things to the article on periodization. About this time I began standing with my computer open on the kitchen counter, staring at my growing watchlist, checking, peeking. I was, after about a week, well on my way to a first-stage Wikipedia dependency.

Here's the Wikipedia user page for Wageless. Click the History tab to see what Baker has been up to, or click the Discussion tab to see what others have said about him.

Note that Wageless has not edited the entry on Nicholson Baker. At the very least, he should provide a photo.


Permalink | Posted in Books |
  1. By Jim Kloss. Comment posted 01-Mar-2008 @09:47am:
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but a quick search yesterday for "The Idiots Guide to Wikipedia" has not been written. I don't get to a bookstore more than 2-3 times/year so I'm curious if there are any books on the basics of Mediawiki's flavor of wiki (which is what Wikipedia uses).

    I await a usable book about how to navigate/edit on Wikipedia since I tied WWR to the same software specifically to suck on the exhaust fumes of the behemoth.

    Do I detect a trend on this blog to a slightly increasing ratio of wiki to bacon entries?
  2. By Jim Kloss. Comment posted 01-Mar-2008 @10:05am:
    Just finished the article - two thumbs up.

    Oh and Note that Wageless has not edited the entry on Nicholson Baker. At the very least, he should provide a photo.

    has been edited to:

    Note that Wageless has not edited the entry on Nicholson Baker. At the very least, I should provide a photo.

    Be bold!!
  3. By RickHap. Comment posted 01-Mar-2008 @03:43pm:
  4. By RickHap. Comment posted 01-Mar-2008 @04:01pm:
    WikiPatterns

    Wiki for Dummies


    The Baker review was an enjoyable read. The good entries on WikiX require good writing and editing. Simply scraping, spidering and plucking to generate WikiX content is simply archiving.
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