Why Quora Is Not Wikipedia

February 3, 2011 § 124 Comments

By: Seb Paquet

“Perspective is worth 80 IQ Points” – Alan Kay

Wikipedia‘s mission is “to compile the sum of all human knowledge”. And it does so amazingly well. But exactly what is meant by “the world’s knowledge”? The simple and quick answer is validated knowledge. Established knowledge. Validated knowledge is immensely useful. Basically, it represents the solidified sum of human culture: all we can take for granted. Wikipedia reflects consensus reality, or tries very hard to do so. In this respect, you could say that Wikipedia is past-bound: it offers knowledge of what has been known.

However, there’s another segment of the world’s knowledge that is hazy and tentative. It is emphatically not validated. It is contentious. It is controversial. It’s messy. You could call it pre-knowledge. In pre-knowledge territory, conflicting points of view abound, and nobody’s quite sure what is true. This is the evolutionary edge of human culture.
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