“Free knowledge” in the Internet has gotten my proverbial goat as a passing “researcher” on the matter of virtual environments. My goat, baa-ing (or is it meeh-ing) across the field of topics I want to deal with in the future, is begging for a push. Or a slaughter, depending on my mood.
For example, the UP Baguio Wikipedia entry lists my friends and acquaintances Sloan, Joma, Jahzeel, Wilzen and Det as “notable UP Baguio people.” I would give props to Det, who won the 2006 Palanca Award for Children’s Fiction for a story that centers around lesbians (don’t get anything in your head). Jahzeel is indeed the (some say disputed) first summa cum laude of UP Baguio. I would say that Sloan is a very intelligent young man, that Joma is one tall dude, and Wilzen is a conflicted (not closet) gay person.
(I dare to ask: where the hell am I?)
Another example: in Weird Al Yankovic’s “White and Nerdy” video, he edited the Atlantic Records page and wrote “YOU SUCK!” And then there’s Conservapedia: where the “liberal bias” of Wikipedia is ditched in favor of a pro-American, conservative Republican stance.
This brings to mind the paradox of (online) freedom: while the best things in life are free, you know what they say about free stuff. I’ve written earlier about how I forsee myself in Wikipedia, and it just goes to show how easy it is not only to access information, but also to create it. With someone like Joey de Leon invoking YouTube videos to be the absolute truth, it’s easy to see that there is a good argument for “digital anarchy,” as opposed to “digital democracy.”
While Wikipedia was supposed to mean the death of the door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, it seems to me that it isn’t: basically, Wikipedia is Childcraft that comes for free. There’s something postmodern about Wikipedia, in that “whose knowledge” is no longer a prime question, as opposed to, “Is it even knowledge?” By what terms do we define “knowledge?” And so, a series of questions emerge.
I use Wikipedia, but I take everything in it with more than the usual grain of salt. Stephen Colbert calls it “Wikiality:” truth by consensus. Which brings to mind a series of more questions: whose consensus, whose truth…
Dammit, I’m going to make a paper on this.