The DIY encyclopedia
Who can fail to love the can-do spirit and have-a-go enthusiasm of Wikipedia? When the site found itself in need of copyright-free illustrations, one user simply generated his own.
We were alerted to this cockle-warming tale via a Something Awful forum, where member Stick_Fig, sets the scene like this:
A group of users has decided that because these promotional photos, which were previously allowed, are copyrighted, they need to be replaced with copyright-free images. Like, images taken by nerds for nerds. The argument is that, since the person is alive, by God, a photo can be taken, so we MUST remove the old, perfectly-fine-minus-a-little-copyright photo now.
Readers poured forth with heroic hand-crafted illustrations, such as the one above.
It was only when it was discovered that the site’s entry for “semen” was in need of copyright-free illustration that one member heroically rose to the challenge. Or rather the member’s member did. And what a splendid contribution it is.
So no more gags about Wiki-Fiddling, please. This is truly an example of “User Generated Content” at its most spontaneous.
As Tim Bray observed recently:
“There’s been a surge of recent editorial activity with super-energetic (and apparently well-informed) new contributors trimming and tweaking and growing the articles, often several times per day. In general, while I haven’t been convinced that 100 per cent of the changes are improvements, the quality of the articles as a whole is definitely trending up.”
Um, quite. How can Britannica possibly compete with that?