Wikis and the LA Times

Just a quick note: I’ve read about the LA Times‘ very brief experiment with “wikitorials”–and some quick explanations of why it was probably doomed from the start.

I’ve also seen several bloggers predicting that, to paraphrase, all those anti-wiki people will be out proclaiming “See, wikis are worthless.”

What I haven’t seen so far, however–at least in the blogs I track or those quoted by those blogs–is anyone actually saying that the LA Times failure represents a general problem with wikis, as opposed to a specific failure in this situation.

Where are all the grand nay-sayers that I’m being warned about? Am I just missing a groundswell of “see, we told you” posts?

Addendum, a little later: Here’s the thing: Citing this singular failure as a general failure on the part of wikis makes exactly as much sense as saying, for example:

  • “I just read a book that says nothing and says it badly, and the pages fell out after an hour. Books don’t work.”
  • “I’ve seen a dozen weblogs that are meretricious wastes of time. Weblogs don’t work.”
  • “More than half of new restaurants fail in the first year. Restaurants don’t work.”

I don’t think it’s even worth responding to that sort of criticism. If someone says, as one critic has, that every use of wikis could be done better by a different technology: That’s a criticism worth responding to. (And the calmer responses were pretty convincing.)

Anyway: I haven’t seen any slew of “See? Wikis don’t work” comments. Have you?

2 Responses to “Wikis and the LA Times”

  1. Charles Bailey Says:

    Here’s an interesting spin on that story:

    "LA Times Pulls Wikitorial, Blames Slashdot"

  2. Seth Finkelstein Says:

    Wiki’s haven’t yet been overhyped to the point where there’s punditry to be made in saying that.


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