Skip to content

Wiki Me

I think I might be one of those uptight people not completely on board with the whole open-source wiki thing. For instance, every time I see a wikipedia entry presented as a source I raise that left eyebrow just a bit, and wonder how correct the thing actually is. Of course I’m just as guilty of linking to wikipedia as the next guy, but it’s clearly disingenous, because as I do it, I tell myself that I would never use it as an actual (or at least sole) information source if I ever really wanted to research something.

Of course as I sing out loud that information pooled from the world at large and not from vetted “experts” (at least I have the decency to shudder at the word) might contain (gasp) mistakes, I do remind myself that every “published” encyclopedia I’ve ever huddled over in a high school library was itself riddled with its own mistakes, misperceptions, biases, or outright lies—the publishers simply never bothered to own up to them.

The wikis I tend to like are the ones attempting to build a categorized reference source for a specific & interested group … like Nikk Pilato’s Wind Repertory Project. Nikk e-mailed me about this last year, and I think it’s a fine idea. I’ve edited some of my pieces there myself, and I honestly wish Nikk success with it, because not only is it completely unbiased in its classifications, but it seems like it might be a useful source for many—in the model of the American Music Center’s online library (formerly NewMusicJukeBox).

One example of the kind of open-source fuzziness that gives me pause is the wikipedia entry on Concert Band. I stumbled on this sucker yesterday while checking out the usefulness of the new search engine cuil.com1 by key-wording myself. (Yeah, that’s right, I do that, too. Just like you.) So finding this entry was curious … why would my name be in it, exactly? And then I scrolled down to the section on the Late Twentieth Century Through The Present

John Corigliano, Karl Husa, Vincent Persichetti, and … me? I’m clearly not important enough to have my own page though, as I know others are. (There are apparently wikipedia rules about those kinds of things … you need to be at least this famous to ride the roller coaster.) And yet, there I am. Flippin’ weird. My guess is whoever authored the entry is a) a fan, and so therefore b) someone I know. Not knowing enough about how to dig into the authorship trail on wikipedia, I’m stumped.

Of course, now that I’ve shown that, anyone can just go in there and delete my name. Which is kind of the whole wiki point, of course. The self-correction thing. It’s also why my eyebrow is still raised.

1The verdict on Cuil isn’t good, by the way. It kind of blows big chunks and is way not ready for prime time. At the very least, they need to get their thumbnails straight. As much as I’d like it to be, that is not me playing soccer.

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to StumbleUpon


  1. Andrew Bellware

    Having a place to link to on wikipedia might make you just famous enough to have your own page.

    If I read it correctly, Justin Tokke did the edit which added your name at

    But I might be wrong.

    Posted on 30-Jul-08 at 9:47 PM | Permalink
  2. the wild koba

    hahahah. i remember reading that concert band entry a while ago too and thought, “damn. newm’s got hookups on planet wiki!”

    and yeah, cuil? not very.

    Posted on 01-Aug-08 at 1:19 AM | Permalink
  3. Newman

    As I suspected, my name has been removed. Un-wiki’d, as it were. My above points remain unscathed.

    Posted on 30-Aug-08 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *