Umberto Eco über Wikipedia

von schneeschmelze

Umberto Eco hat dem italienischen Ableger von Wikinews ein (ins Englische übertragene) Interview gegeben, in dem er sich u.a. über die Grundlagen des Wikipedia-Projekts äußert:

I look at the Italian Wikipedia; I’m not sure that the news is correct, so I go to check the English version, then yet another source, and if all three tell me that this gentleman died in 371 AD, then I begin to believe it. …

People who work on Wikipedia are not just an aristocracy, just professors, but they are not the indiscriminate crowd either: they are the part of the crowd who feels motivated to work with Wikipedia. Here it is: I’d replace the theory of „wisdom of crowds“ with the theory of the „wisdom of the motivated crowds.“ The general crowd says that we should not pay taxes, the motivated crowd says that it’s fair to pay them. In fact, it is not a digger or an illiterate who contributes on Wikipedia, but someone who already belongs to a cultural crowd for the very fact of using a computer. …

Peirce was thinking of the scientific community, of course; especially in his time, it was definitely separated from the common crowd. …

Wikipedia has two unrelated functions in my opinion. The first one is to allow fast search of information, and it is just the multiplication of Garzantine [a popular Italian series of compact encyclopedias], period. The other, and this is what we are talking about now, is whether the control from below can be many times more successful than the control from above. Since the world is full of expert idiots, certainly it can be. …

I don’t edit pages, except for the page about me when I found it written that I married the daughter of my publisher, since as a matter of fact I didn’t. Poor soul, she ran such a risk! [laughs] Another time I was described as the eldest of 13 brothers. …

When I write, I consult Wikipedia 30–40 times a day, because it is really helpful. When I write, I don’t remember if someone was born in the VI century or the VII; or maybe how many n are in „Goldmann“… Just few years ago, for this kind of things you could waste a lot of time. Nowadays, with Wikipedia and Babylon, which checks the spelling, you can save a lot. …