Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Wikipedia News

The Petition to Classify Wikipedia a "World Wonder" 311

Posted by samzenpus
from the editing-the-pyramids dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that a global petition drive has started to add Wikipedia to one of UNESCO's world heritage lists joining such historic monuments and natural sites as the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Wall of China, and the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur. 'The basic idea is to recognize that Wikipedia is this amazing global cultural phenomena that has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,' says Jimmy Wales. 'Too often, people think about us purely in terms of technology, when this is about culture, high tech and learning.' Getting Wikipedia listed will be an uphill battle although a petition drive has already started. It will have to negotiate a complicated approval process and overcome the skeptical regard of Unesco and heritage consultants to be considered for recognition. Susan Williams, the head of external media relations at Unesco in Paris, said a bid by a digital entity like Wikipedia would be unprecedented. 'Anyone can apply,' says Williams, who added that she was not aware of Wikipedia's plans. 'But it may have difficulty fulfilling the criteria.' The problem is that to be included on the World Heritage List alongside the Great Wall of China, Wikipedia must be found 'to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius,' which it's not says Adam Chen. 'We like dorking around on Wikipedia as much as the next person,' writes Chen. 'But Wikipedia resembles less the masterpiece of a genius than the fixation of an idiot savant.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Petition to Classify Wikipedia a "World Wonder"

Comments Filter:
  • by Alex Belits (437) * on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @03:44PM (#36243632) Homepage

    That's a wonder indeed...

    • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:10PM (#36243984) Homepage

      As anyone thought of considering the Internet first?

      Or has that already been classed as a "world wonder" by UNESCO and I missed it?

      • I thought of this as well. The Internet should be considered a world wonder long before wikipedia.

        Then again, it's kind of like calling roads a world wonder.

        One has to wonder what it really means to be a world wonder.
      • by T.E.D. (34228) on Thursday May 26, 2011 @08:20AM (#36249822)
        Well, we are actually talking about UNESCO "World Heritage Sites", not Sid Meyer-esque "World Wonders". Since it is "sites", perhaps one has to nominate individual websites? Nominating the entire internet would be like nominating the entire earth as a "World Wonder".
    • by openfrog (897716) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:28PM (#36244222)

      Get over your frustrations about the process and consider the broad picture and the implications.

      Wikipedia continues into the 21st century what the Encyclopedists first started in the 18th.

      It needs to be recognized so the collaboration on which it stands is not hampered by corporations wanting to cash on the Internet while having done nothing for its development. We need to point out where real value resides on the Web, when they insist on protecting their narrow economic interests.

      I am not sure how much help will come from a recognition by the UNESCO, but I will back any kind of effort without a second thought.

    • by FhnuZoag (875558)
      World's largest collection of ego? I thought we were talking about wikipedia, not the Pyramids or the Great Wall of China or all those other wonders...
  • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @03:44PM (#36243644) Journal
    Maybe if it is around and relevant at least a hundred years from now, then maybe. Sounds fanboy inspired. Or is Jimmy's hand in this?
  • Hell no. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Wikipedia is not a "World Wonder" any more than the Guinness Book of World Records is a "World Wonder".

  • GWoC (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @03:47PM (#36243696) Homepage Journal

    " 'But Wikipedia resembles less the masterpiece of a genius than the fixation of an idiot savant.'""

    As does the great wall of China.

    • Re:GWoC (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:50PM (#36244542)

      The counterclaim is a bit more idiotic than that. From the article:

      But Wikipedia resembles less the masterpiece of a genius than the fixation of an idiot savant. You know: grinding out articles through endless pedantic debate. Wikipedia’s strength lies in thousands volunteers who care desperately about things most people have never even heard of.

      This description, which was given as criticism directed towards wikipedia and intentionally done so with the intent of making it look bad, has the strange problem of also describing how the scientific process unrolls in the scientific community. Well, with the single difference of the majority of scientists not being volunteers, at least in the sense of wikipedia.

      But even when ignoring this blatant mishap, I don't see how pedantic discussions on factual and scientific information can be seen as bad, particularly when the point of those pedantic discussions is to meticulously log information, free of bias and independent of any point of view. That is, it seems that those who make this sort of criticism simply don't know what they are talking about.

      But hey, you have to avenge that time someone deleted your pet article on some irrelevant subject.

      • by Bogtha (906264)

        I don't see how pedantic discussions on factual and scientific information can be seen as bad

        Maybe it's not the scientific knowledge people have a problem with, but rather the endless streams of crap [wikipedia.org] there. 122 footnotes for a list of Pokemon? That starts out "For more detailed lists of Pokemon, see..."?

        I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't for the fact that perfectly reasonable topics are removed for lack of notability. Yet the Pokemon stays.

        • Why is that a problem? It's not like your going to be reading about Kant's views on metaphysics and then suddenly stumble upon the smegma article (mmm... stilton), or even worse the psyduck article. If you don't want to read it don't type it into the search box. It's hardly Wikipedia's fault if you can control your compulsion to read the synopsis of every power-rangers episode.

      • I think the problem that many people have with Wikipedia is that the pedantic discussions on scientific information are undertaken by people who have zero qualifications or training in the subjects. Another problem is that expert opinions are disregarded in favor of the leading editors and/or the rigid and sometimes arcane rules. Basically, many people see a dichotomy in how the editors act: they profess to be seeking truth or facts, but their actions often conflict with these stated aims.
        • Re:GWoC (Score:5, Interesting)

          by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @09:16PM (#36246762)

          I think the problem that many people have with Wikipedia is that the pedantic discussions on scientific information are undertaken by people who have zero qualifications or training in the subjects.

          Do you actually have any basis to make that claim? More to the point, a contribution is either valid or invalid, and from my experience that doesn't have a strong relation with someone's aura of authority. If someone adds something which is true, valid and correct then you don't need to demand to see their resume to decide if you accept or object their contributions. You simply turn on your brain, think and evaluate the merit of their contribution.

          Another problem is that expert opinions are disregarded in favor of the leading editors and/or the rigid and sometimes arcane rules.

          Again, do you have any basis for that claim? I'm a structural engineer and I've created a hefty set of articles on my topic of expertise and contributed to countless more. During this time I've experienced zero cases similar to the one you've described. I've stumbled on stubs which shouldn't be stubs, I've stumbled on articles which were poorly edited and I've even stumbled on a hand full of blatant errors. Yet, I've never had anyone revert my contributions due to petty behaviour you've described.

          Yet, what you are trying to attribute to a conspiracy by "leading editors" may as well be the result of you being a dick, and trying to strong-arm objectionable edits based on arrogant premises such as an attitude of "you have zero qualifications or training in the subject when compared to me". In that case, don't try to attribute to a conspiracy the problems that you bring onto yourself due to your lack of basic social skills.

          Basically, many people see a dichotomy in how the editors act: they profess to be seeking truth or facts, but their actions often conflict with these stated aims.

          You are bitching about "editors" as if they were some sort of external group, dividing them into a "them" group while you are kept in the "us" group. Yet, if you actually had any experience whatsoever contributing to wikipedia you would know by now that you are an editor, just as I am and countless others. There is no "us Vs them". Anyone can edit, anyone can create articles, anyone can contribute to articles, anyone can change articles. So, please don't try to come up with conspiracies and "us Vs them" excuses to try to justify your lame, baseless point of view.

          • Again, do you have any basis for that claim? I'm a structural engineer and I've created a hefty set of articles on my topic of expertise and contributed to countless more. During this time I've experienced zero cases similar to the one you've described

            Maybe because nobody gives a shit about structural engineering? Im just kidding. Im a math grad student. As such, I believe I am capable of thinking critically, though as a math student I must admit there is always a possibility that I in fact do not. I have not witnessed many situations like the OP stated, however I certainly remember a time when flame wars would occur on religious topics as well as controversial social topics. I seem to remember a study that showed how often certain topics were modifed an

        • Be careful, qualifications aren't everything. I have worked in an academic field for awhile as a researcher PhD student, and have noticed that some people of the Principal Investigator status are more politicians and administrators than scientists anymore. They don't understand your work, but try to tell you how you should execute it because they start to live through you. They still have valuable ideas and input from experience, but have no real understanding of the challenges nor the value of the work you
  • Oh Wales... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xacid (560407) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @03:47PM (#36243704) Journal

    I was almost ok with this until I read "says Jimmy Wales". That's like nominating yourself for a nobel peace prize.

    • by NevarMore (248971)

      I was almost ok with this until I read "says Jimmy Wales". That's like nominating yourself for a nobel peace prize.

      Except Jimmy has actually done something to make Wikipedia a wonder.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        What you mean drive away usefull contributers, foster ego driven moderators and protectionism while at the same time encouraging the less informed to ensure "their" views are the ones people see as facts on wiki?
      • Aspergers counts another sufferer. Nominating yourself (or promoting yourself) for an award is extremely tacky. It just is. Jimbo deserves a lot of credit, but surely he can find someone outside the project to pimp it for him.

        • by idontgno (624372)

          but surely he can find someone outside the project to pimp it for him.

          They have a name [wikipedia.org] for that phenomenon within Wikipedia.

          Self-promotion by proxy is worse than self-promotion.

    • by Animats (122034)

      That's like nominating yourself for a Nobel Peace Prize.

      True. It's a bit much to be organizing a petition for this.

      The Encyclopædia Britannica, in its heyday (the 11th edition), is far more worthy of monumental status.

    • No kidding. This smells like nothing more than Jimmy trying to stroke his ego in one more delusional way. For the record: I think Wikipedia is awesome. It is, however, also significantly less awesome than the Internet, without which Wikipedia would not even exist. Furthermore, and that's a pretty common complaint, Wikipedia is at least partially an exercise in ego-stroking. As such, it is probably the largest example of mass ego-stroking in history. That's noteworthy, but not exactly something that needs to

    • Furthermore I'm pretty sure Heritage sites are attached to UNESCO funding. So it also strikes me as a not-too-subtle attempt to lock in money to guarantee its survival.

  • by Rie Beam (632299)

    A World Heritage site should be something that exists in the world; something we interact with and can learn from.

    Wikipedia is a very fascinating project and I wouldn't mind having some sort of international intervention in its preservation, but it's inappropriate to put it in the same ranks as a 4000-year-old forest or a historical church. It's a website; there should be better channels than this for it.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      and a forest is just a random set of trees we decides to give meaning to, and a church is just a building.

      I think it's a great idea, and it's already done more for mankind them most other wonders.

      I mean, The Great Wall was built piecemeal, over many rulers, and it never worked.

      • I mean, The Great Wall was built piecemeal, over many rulers, and it never worked.

        Pffft. Call me when Wikipedia can keep barbarian axemen from pillaging my cottages.

    • Wikipedia exists and I interact with it all the time. I learn much more from Wikipedia than from some old stone building in an isolated location that conveys nothing other than people did stuff here along time ago. Also Wikipedia's servers are very real things and in real locations for those who want to gawk at the computer chips.

    • by Beerdood (1451859)
      Also, shouldn't it be something visual, not relegated to a computer screen? Something that covers a large space that gives you a tingly feeling of awe when you see it in person? I don't quite get that feeling from wikipedia.

      I'm very grateful for wikipedia and all the useful stuff I've learned over the years, but this is simply doesn't fall under the classification of a "world heritage site"
    • A World Heritage site should be something that exists in the world; something we interact with and can learn from.

      All qualities that Wikipedia has....

      However, the following sentences illustrate my skepticism as to it being a "wonder" of the world:

      "Would you like to join my family and I on an all expense paid journey to visit The Great Pyramid of Giza?"

      "Would you like to join my family and I on an all expense paid journey to visit The Web Site of Wikipedia?"

      I mean, really... Who the fuck cares about useless ancient stone structures?! Oh, heritage, yeah, that thing I give a shit about because I'm an American Mut

    • A World Heritage site should be something that exists in the world; something we interact with and can learn from.

      Well, that *certainly* disqualifies wikipedia. It's not in this world (I strongly suspect it lives in a demon dimension, byeond the singularity, in hyperspace or possible outside of the luminiferous aether). And there is no way at all of learning from it, let alone interacting with it.

      but it's inappropriate to put it in the same ranks as a 4000-year-old forest or a historical church. It's a web

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @03:50PM (#36243734)

    For everyone that's had an article deleted for being non-notable, WP being deemed non-notable (next to the Great Wall of China) should be just deserts.

  • by koreaman (835838) <uman@umanwizard.com> on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @03:53PM (#36243758)

    First of all, it's Adrian Chen, not Adam Chen.

    Second, his remark is completely unfounded. It's not the contributions of the idiot savant contributers that matters; it's the project as a whole. Or were the pyramids just "the fixation of a manual-laboring slave" ? Sometimes a whole can be more than the sum of its parts.

    Personally I think an introduction to almost every field of human knowledge that almost anyone can understand is more important than a big, pointy tomb.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      The problem is that Wikipedia is contemporary. We shouldn't declare things wonders when they've only been around for a few short years. Mankind has created countless works that were undoubtedly considered amazing at the time, and were promptly forgotten. There was a time when MySpace was an important part of the web. Aren't we glad it wasn't declared a wonder?

      • Comparing a website where people post a list of their favorite bands and try to "hook up" with others in their area to a website that holds more information than 100,000 libraries of Alexandria? This is not like comparing apples to oranges but more like comparing gorillas to MOSFETS.
  • Easier Way (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @03:54PM (#36243766)

    Instead of going through this complicated process, just add it to the Wikipedia page about World Wonders.

  • by Nyall (646782) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:00PM (#36243858) Homepage

    Why bother with a petition?

    It would be much simpler if someone simply edited wikipedia's article on world wonders to say that it is a world wonder.

  • by random coward (527722) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:01PM (#36243872)
    So it becomes a UNESCO heritage item; after that any changes to it would be damaging world heritage and overnight wikipedia dies.

    Be very careful what you wish for people.
  • If this drive succeeds, don't the maintainers have to lock down the site, preventing any changes? That's how all the other "World Heritage Sites"(tm) are treated, as pretties to be seen and admired. (OTOH, the thought of a final end to the WikiEditWars makes me all warm & happy inside.)
  • by DriedClexler (814907) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:07PM (#36243940)

    Why not pick the internet as a whole?

  • While wikipedia is impressive, it's just one small part of the internet. Why wouldn't the internet as a whole qualify as a world wonder?
    • by vlm (69642)

      While wikipedia is impressive, it's just one small part of the internet. Why wouldn't the internet as a whole qualify as a world wonder?

      The religious nuts would discover its about 99% pr0n and freak out.

  • > 'to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius,'

    Ummm, like The Great Barrier Reef?

    Jimmy Wales may be the founder, but what makes Wikipedia extraordinary is less like Orville and Wilber and more like a billion coral polyps. Just 'cuz humans were involved in the accretion does not preclude it from being a natural wonder. The amazing thing is not that Jimmy Wales founded it, or that some handful of people worked on it, it is that an enormous number of people worked on it -- simultaneously, independe

    • You just have to meet one of ten criteria. The Great Barrier Reef doesn't hit "human creative genius" but it's really the only one wikipedia can come close to.

      http://www.globalmountainsummit.org/home_page.html [globalmountainsummit.org]

      It is not a natural wonder, neither by these criteria nor the common definition of natural which is, basically, "anything not man-made", so yes, the level of human involvement (basically...100%) does indeed preclude it from being a natural wonder.

      I do think wikipedia is amazing but I think "The Intern

      • by koreaman (835838)

        I can see it applying to any of the following:

        Criteria III - Cultural Criteria III: Bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;

        Criteria IV - Cultural Criteria IV: Be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technical ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;

        Criteria VI - Cultural Criteria VI: Be directly or tangibly associated with events or living trad

    • There are 10 possible criteria [wikipedia.org] from which to pick one that a nominated site satisfies, including the "masterpiece" criterion (i). 4 of them apply specifically to natural sites, such as the reef, while the other 6 are culturally-oriented.

      The "masterpiece" criterion is criterion (i), although you could arguably make a case for Wikipedia under criteria (iv) or (vi) as well (emphasis mine):

      (iv) "is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural, or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage in human history"

      (as a global-scale collaborative project with millions of participants in the information age)

      (vi) "is directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance"

      (free and open disseminati

  • Which [wikipedia.org] "Wonders" list should it be added to?

    Maybe a new Wonders list is needed...the Seven Wonders of the Digital World? ;o)

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:14PM (#36244046)

    In some respects they are right: the Wikipedia is an amazing phenomena that is both a contribution to and a contribution of modern culture. Yet it isn't the only thing out there that is built upon similar premesises and contributes in similar ways. Most of all, you do you recognise a living part of culture? Let's face it, most UNESCO heritage items seek to preserve the past. Projects like Wikipedia are very much a part of the present.

  • If Wikipedia becomes a wonder its location will be revealed to all who seek to destroy it. I would hate to see a contingent of war elephantâ(TM)s step on Jimmy Wales while evil priests turn Wikimedia into an advertising agency.

  • Just today, i was reading innumerable passages and articles while researching the decline of the roman army and decline of roman empire, and their correlation. (whether there was, or wasnt).

    in the process, i learned a lot about immediate post-roman britain, post-roman gaul, and what transpired there - from how gallo-roman gauls had preserved a lot of gallic cultural traits well into the fall of roman empire to the return of the romans one last time to britain in order to give bretons blueprints and tools
  • bah (Score:5, Funny)

    by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:32PM (#36244286)

    Not official until we can build it in Civ.

  • Genius? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:33PM (#36244312)

    Well, okay, I understand "to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius", but lets look at that standard applied to the Great Wall of China, as mentioned in the article. It is a great feat of construction for its age, but I don't see a lot of creative genius there -- ultimately it's just a big obstacle to keep people out. Furthermore, it was not a single construction project, but consisted of a number of building projects over something like ten centuries. There is also some question as to how effective it was.

    Come to think of it, based on the latter two aspects I just mentioned, Wikipedia compares quite well to the Great Wall of China.

  • but it is genius (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PJ6 (1151747) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @04:45PM (#36244466)

    But Wikipedia resembles less the masterpiece of a genius than the fixation of an idiot savant.

    As a developer I know how hard it can be to use technology to get groups of people to accomplish even simple tasks.

    Look at how useful Wikipedia is. And the SHEER SCALE. It is un-f***ing-believeable.

    Coming from an engineer, I can say that there is absolutely no question - Wikipedia is a modern masterpiece.

    Does it contain creative genius? Yes. The creative genius was the creator's decision to allow anyone to contribute, when everyone said it wouldn't work.

    • by bloodhawk (813939)
      allow anyone to contribute? really??? have you tried to contribute? I tried a few times in my area of expertise and had my entries promptly deleted and replaced with garbage.
    • by blair1q (305137)

      Wikipedia is a modern masterpiece.

      Y'know, every master of any art has produced a masterpiece. That's how the word gets its definition. There are a lot of those, too.

      Every time I've gone to Wikipedia, I have either fixed an error there, or wanted to.

      I don't think I've ever done that with any artistic masterpiece. Not even once. Not even with the ones that had someone's elbow stuck through them.

      Wikipedia lacks the prime quality of a masterpiece: if you did change it, you could only make it less valuable.

  • This is important in so many ways - including recognizing a genuine, but virtual, "cyber" entity as worthy of being named a "world heritage site". I'd think that Slashdot, as one of the pioneering forums would welcome this.

    I've often said - when the civilization collapses, we will remember Wikipedia the same as we now remember the Library of Alexandria.

  • Just put that on the home page and be done with it.....
  • Who is going to start it? I'll sign..
    While wikipedia is interesting, it's got far too many issues to try and put it in that category.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @05:33PM (#36245006)

    I dunno about it being a wonder, but it will add +5 Research points for every laboratory you build.

  • I think a bigger problem is the definition of "world wonder". As with many other things (like deleting/keeping articles in Wikipedia itself), we should have ratings to indicate importance/notability, not a false dichotomy of "in" or "out".

  • The Great Pyramidal Pile of Shit on Giza
    The Hanging Dingleberries of Babylon
    The Statue of Zeus at Olympia that Looks Just Like Jimbo Wales
    The Temple of Artlessness at Ephesus
    The Mausoleum at Holicrapassus
    The Shithouse of Alexandria

    That's the list that Wikipedia fits onto.

  • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @07:44PM (#36246222)
    It's one of the most commonly used words in the English language. It is the very first word of the summary. It is missing the very first letter. What The Fuck?
  • by starseeker (141897) on Wednesday May 25, 2011 @11:10PM (#36247362) Homepage

    "World Wonders" in this sense are things that have stood the test of time and often-times represent the peak of a civilization's achievements (or at least, the known peak of what has lasted from that civilization.) Wikipedia is useful for some things, but I hardly think it belongs in the same category as the historical/natural sites UNESCO's world heritage efforts work to preserve.

    If they want to pick something "modern" to protect, IMHO it should be what remains of the US and Soviet systems/sites that participated in the space race. Ultimately human beings stepped foot on the moon as a consequence of those efforts. THAT's something worth preserving/remembering. And could probably use some help in the preservation department.

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

Working...