The Failure of Collective Intelligence

Wikipedia Logo Full SizeI was talking to an associate tonight and we had cause to have a look at the entry for “Podcast” in Wikipedia. My discovery was the bastardized remnants of what was once a very good article.

Not only does the entry now have a warning plastered at the top as to the fact that there may be spam associated with outgoing links. The information in the entry is now totally inaccurate and boarders on heresy. Take this example:

The term “podcast” is derived from Apple’s portable music player, the iPod.

This is total rubbish. In fact this is the exact assumption made by the community at large that we as podcasters are constantly trying to change. More often than not once someone has an idea as to what podcasts are their next question is “Do I need an iPod?”.

The term “Podcast” or “Podcasting” was in fact first coined on the 12th of Feburary 2004 by Ben Hammersley in an article for “The Gardian Newspaper”:

“…all the ingredients are there for a new boom in amateur radio. But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?”

- Guardian Unlimited [Emphasis added to quote]

This is but one example of numerous inaccuracies that have occurred over a very short period of time to this entry. Right now someone could include that a podcast is a nocturnal rabbit and it would not damage the article. So corrupted is the information that it is good for nothing. Not only that but a cursory look at associated pages and entries reveal further inaccurate and spam laden dross.

Just when I thought that Wikipedia was starting to gain some respect. This is a demonstration of why it is possible that it will never be fully trusted or respected at any level. I am certainly going to use a lot more caution when using Wikipedia as a source of information or reference, on any subject. Until this article and associated items are cleaned up I would discount the whole article as crap.

This brings into question the whole Wikipedia model in that there is wisdom in crowds. However, this proves that there are indeed flaws to making the assumption that collective intelligence is superior. Clearly people other than experts in this field or at least those that have made some sort of research attempt have edited these entries. This has been done more than once compounding the already inaccurate data. This has occurred much quicker than those qualified to do so. The result is an article that is hobbled by rubbish and dosed with spam for good measure.

At this present time on face value the whole article needs to be rewritten and reviewed and then locked down. I have witnessed the failure of collective intelligence.

I have a Problem with Goats

So I was looking at my stats page this morning and I came across a refer tag that has me stumped. This is all about goats, something I have never said in a blog entry (until now), I have never used the tag in a post. So why am I getting referrals for the tag: mocks-goat-farm?
Here is what I see in the dashboard it is the start of the stats day so it may have slipped my attention before but today it is the top referrer:

mocks-goat-farm tag screenshot

This page has the tag references for mocks-goat-farm on WordPress. As you can see the posts listed have nothing to do with goats or farms and who the heck is “mock”? The other thing is that they are all my posts. Who is the real blogger that used the tag? This is driving me absolutely round the bend so I have started to unravel the goat mystery, so far without success.

A search for the tag on Technorati got one blog in the result. The result was one blog post which appears to have been removed. It might have something to do with a screw up in the database or something like that. Either that or someone is playing a big joke at my expense.

As everyone knows that has a blog here on WordPress the support is taking a break so right now I am hoping that some of the users on WordPress might have some answers. This problem is definitely a WordPress issue as there are none of my posts showing up on Technorati for the tag.

So there you have it, my goat problems. But this is the only post that you will find anything to do with goats so sorry to the disappointed the tag surfers that might be here looking for them.

I refuse to use the tag in this post, that would not be cool… Although in posting this I will successfully be indexed by Google, but what choice do I have? I might laugh when it is all sorted out.

UPDATE: The goat problem has been resolved.

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