How did that work out at Wikipedia?
● Here’s an example of the overall problem: Wikipedia’s own co-founder Larry Sanger has described an article on the intelligent design controversy as “appallingly biased” (8 December 2017). Sanger is not a partisan of design in nature. The problem he identifies is created by the fact that fierce partisans of naturalism and Darwinism are far more likely to be the “crowd” from which the information is “sourced” and to keep others out.
As just one example, when paleontologist, Gunter Bechly announced that he doubted Darwinism, he was disappeared from Wikipedia, despite continuing to work in the field and classify fossils. So if, for example, you need to understand a controversy over ID at the local school board in more depth, Wikipedia would not be a good choice, despite claims about the value of crowdsourcing.
The obvious problem with crowdsourcing is anonymity and the lack of accountability that goes with it. Individually sourced information is different: If a politician seeking re-election informs you that her opponent’s policies spell disaster, you will naturally consider the source. The car salesman’s new wheels pitch, the realtor’s market assessment, the vet’s advice, the bishop’s letter read from the pulpit, are all clearly sourced and evaluated as such. And all these sources are accountable. We implicitly factor in our experiences with each of these sources in determining our level of assent.
By contrast, crowdsourced information from Alexa on contentious issues could be based ultimately on the internet’s public landfill.Denyse O’Leary, “Ask Alexa (and an anonymous crowd answers)” at Mind Matters News
Further reading: Alexa really does NOT understand us. In a recent test, only 35 percent of the responses to simple questions were judged adequate.
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