Friday, January 27, 2012

Wicked Writers Warp Wikipedia

The Frum World often seems to be a Johnny-Come-Lately in certain regards. Part of this might stem from the dictum "Chadash Asur Min HaTorah". Tradition by nature is very suspect of change, and people are uncomfortable in upsetting the apple cart. If it worked until now, we will not change it.

Yet time moves on. It is very easy to say that computers are not necessary in the schools, that cell phones are not necessary, that the internet is evil - that we've survived for thousands of years without this technology and therefore have no use for it now...yet these arguments eventually get stampeded and eventually we come around to figuring out how the new advances in science can actually help the Frum World thrive.

Computers have opened new windows in learning. Schools need not hire tutors when the same job can be performed over and over by a machine that does not tire. The internet has spawned new avenues for finding hard-to-find Seforim, and countless hours are saved as a result. Cell phones allow one to go out to learn, not tied to the house waiting for a call. Etc.

Yet one avenue where the FW has not caught up yet is in updating Wikipedia. [The concept of Wikipedia is to have all the world's information available to poor and rich alike. Money should not be an impediment to knowledge. Wikipedia allows anyone to update their encyclopedic website. If I know information about a concept or person, I can add to this world's knowledgebase so that others will now know the same information.]

While this concept is truly one of noble intention, unfortunately it is rife with abuse. Anyone with a grudge against someone else can simply post unflattering, even derogatory information and destroy a lifetime of good. A Rosh Yeshiva can counsel thousands of Talmidim for a jubilee, yet one disgruntled student can bury that RY with a few swift pecks at his keyboard. A doctor can serve faithfully for decades, then give it all up because of one crackpot with loose fingers.

My recommendation is that the Frum World hire publicists and scrubbers to ensure that their reputations remain clean. Waiting ten more years to figure this out and then try to undo the damage may be too late.


  1. Good idea of course, but who is going to do it? No one has the time or resources. Agudah can't even get the Jewish Observer relaunced. Chaval

  2. People should also realize that standard encyclopedias are written by academics of note, while wiki's are written by persons in their underwear in their mom's basements.

  3. People should also realize that standard encyclopedias lack a lot of information and are outdated by the time they appear, and are expensive.

  4. Yes, there are obviously many pros and cons with using standard as opposed to wikis. Yet this post is focusing on the fact that the FW will need to play catch-up unless they catch on now.

    As my Rosh Yeshiva once told me: "If you can't fight them, join them!"

  5. Your headlines are great! Incidentally, regarding your Tebow post, Eytan Kobre in Mishpacha this past week wrote a similar post, lauding Tebow's good qualities. See

    1. somehow and kobre are both wrong as rain on tebow.

    2. sacreligious scribes sour syclopedia

      evil entries emasculate encyclopedia

      "writers" begins with an w but sounds like an r. these headlines are better. please change your post headline immediately



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