Question of the Week
I recently noticed that there's a new article in Wikipedia on the Royal Wedding, but it contains many errors. Who is responsible for these errors?
-- Sonam P., MoE
Many Internet users in Bhutan are not familiar with Wikipedia, so this is a great opportunity to let readers know about a terrific online resource. Wikipedia - accessible at www.wikipedia.org - is an online encyclopedia. It contains millions of articles about every conceivable domain of human knowledge. The Wikipedia website is one of the most popular websites in the world, currently up there in the top 5, together with the more familiar Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and YouTube. Like Facebook, surfing Wikipedia can become addictive, but it is unlikely to be blocked at your office!
Traditional printed encyclopedias, the most famous one being Encyclopedia Britannica, used to be housed in libraries, because they were too expensive for most people to have at home. At libraries, they populated long shelves, and required heavy-lifting. Wikipedia, on the other hand, is completely free and accessible from any Internet-connected computer. For the first time in history, people now have cheap and easy access to an incredible amount of knowledge and information.
While Encyclopedia Britannica was written by reputable experts, Wikipedia entries are written, edited and updated by anyone who wants to help. It is a collaborative effort by Internet volunteers. This means that information is usually very up-to-date. For example, a few minutes after Muammar Gaddafi was killed, the Wikipedia entry about him already contained his date of death: a volunteer edited this piece of information. But since anyone can update Wikipedia, it also means that information can be incorrect. This does not mean that there isn't plenty of useful and correct information on Wikipedia, but it does require critical reading.
As to Wikipedia's royal wedding article (http://goo.gl/FQqka), it was mostly created and updated by non-Bhutanese volunteer editors, many of whom lack the knowledge that Bhutanese have. For example, the royal wedding article currently designates Dasho Kinley Dorji as "Bhutan's Minister of Information", which is obviously wrong; he is the Secretary of MoIC. Of course, by the time your read this, someone might have already corrected this error. From my experience, there are many errors in other entries about Bhutan as well. In the next column I'll share some tips on editing Wikipedia articles. Until then, check out articles about Bhutan and see how many other mistakes you can find!
Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org