Larry Sanger interview

Slate has an interview up with Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger (and editor -in-chief of rival encyclopedia site Citizendium)

This part particularly resonated with me:

Wikipedia has finally awakened in people an understanding that even carefully edited resources can frequently be wrong and have to be treated with skepticism and that ultimately we are responsible for what we believe. That means constantly going back and checking what we thought was established or what we thought we knew. Wikipedians often say that you should never trust any one source, including Wikipedia.

That’s not anything new; it’s always been the case that you should check your source against another source. It’s just that the way that the Internet has exposed the editorial process has, for more critical-minded people, made it absolutely plain just how much responsibility we ourselves bear to believe the right thing.

Exactly what I was getting at with the earlier post on Wikipedia and historiography. I’d love to use Wikipedia and other sources this way – to get kids questioning all their sources. Because that’s really what goes into making them not just parrot back “oh I found out these facts” but make them really think about it. Who said so, how do you know, which sources, what are their motivations? Dig deeper!


About mkschoen

In my previous life, I was a reporter and editor covering technology and business for sites including eWeek, ZDNet and CNET Now I’m a student working towards a master’s in library science.
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