Saturday, July 17, 2010


Ochlocracy. It means 'mob rule' or perhaps 'crowdsourcing'. I'm going to write more about this later, having recently revisited Gustave le Bon's wonderful The Crowd.

Meanwhile here is what one philosopher said about the wisdom of the crowd.

"Philosophy: I'm a philosopher; why don't I edit the article on my subject? Because it's hopeless. I've tried at various times, and each time have given up in depressed disgust. Philosophy seems to attract aggressive zealots who know a little (often a very little), who lack understanding of key concepts, terms, etc., and who attempt to take over the article (and its Talk page) with rambling, ground-shifting, often barely comprehensible rants against those who disagree with them. Life's too short. I just tell my students and anyone else I know not to read the Wikipedia article except for a laugh. It's one of those areas where the ochlocratic nature of Wikipedia really comes a cropper".

By Wikipedia editor Mel Etitis, who is a well-known philosopher in real life. He left Wikipedia shortly after this comment in 2007.

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