Saturday, May 28, 2011

From the annals of Dumb Ideas On The Internet

Have you noticed that Facebook is reposting Wikipedia pages? Apparently, they started doing this in April 2010.

Why are they doing this?

The announcements from the Wikimedia Foundation (via) and Facebook (via) seem hand-wavy at best to me. I'm more inclined to think Wikimedia took a "donation" from Facebook to play ball, and this is really all part of Facebook's never-ending effort to become the new AOL by trapping n00bz inside their walled garden, but maybe that's just me and my cynicism.

In any case, the main immediate criticism I'd make is this: the pages on Facebook don't seem to be kept up to date; i.e., they don't reflect the changes made to the corresponding Wikipedia articles. For example compare the page for Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.: Wikipedia | Facebook. Note also a compounding of the problem: Facebook also has a page for Alfred P. Sloan (the same guy -- Junior is the only famous one), which appears to be a fragment of the English version mixed up with an excerpt of the Indonesion(?) version.

Yes, each of these Facebook pages has a link to the corresponding Wikipedia page, but so what? If I have to go over to Wikipedia to get the latest version, let alone if I want to add something to it, why even bother reposting it in the first place?

Also, LOL: Time-traveler or zombie?




[Added] And in the department of Either That's A Mighty Weird Coincidence Or We're All Now Being Watched Always, I just got an email welcoming me to the Indonesian version of Wikipedia. Selamat datang!

#obamasfault

6 comments:

M. Bouffant said...

this is really all part of Facebook's never-ending effort to become the new AOL by trapping n00bz inside their walled garden, but maybe that's just me and my cynicism.

I'm cynical too, but you're entirely correct about FB. Hell, it's worse/smaller than AOL's garden, because you're trapped in it w/ just your so-called friends.

toma said...

On your advice, I friended Alfred P. Sloan. Now he's eaten my foot. I blame you.

Brendan said...

@MB: Good point. On the other hand, the way FB keeps changing "privacy" settings, we will all soon be Friends™.

@toma: Zombies are not in the business of making friends. They are in the business of staying fed.

(Which, I just learned today, was not said by Alfred P. Sloan but by Thomas Murphy, in case you were wondering.)

Brendan said...

Also note addendum to post.

toma said...

Well, your Thomas Murphy seems a decent sort. So I went "online." I had a bit of trouble finding his "website." Turns out he is "dead."

:-(

Brendan said...

AND no Facebook page, which is even worse.

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