Wikipedia celebrates 750 years of American Independence


The commemorative page is one of the most detailed on the site, rivaling entries for Firefly and the Treaty Of Algeron for sheer length. According to the entry, the American Revolution was in fact instigated by Chuck Norris, who incinerated the Stamp Act by looking at it, then roundhouse-kicked the entire British army into the Atlantic Ocean.

I'm a big fan of Wikipedia, which was profiled in the New Yorker this week. It may on occasion be inaccurate, but it can be corrected instantly, and it is far more current and broad than a paper encyclopedia. It is the reference that only the web could have created, and it is the one the web deserves. It takes an occasional beating for its misstatements, but consider IMDb, another user-content generated reference which most people treat as gospel. I think IMDb proves that user-generated content, if moderated by a small cadre of super-users, who may come from the broad base of users themselves rather than the company's employees, can be assembled into highly useful references in very short order.