knowledge that has no knower
Social knowing, in chapter 7, starts off with a description of â€śmiddle-aged white menâ€? in an editorial meeting, deciding what goes on the front page of a newspaper. I just read the chat I missed before spring breakâ€¦you were having a Web 2.0 editorial meeting!
Everything is Miscellaneous goes on to talk about how obsolete the old style meeting it because of sites such as Digg, where readers rank articles to decide what will be on the front page of the website.
But the overall theme in each chapter of this book seems to be that knowledge and how you get it and how you organize it, is in upheaval because of the internet and its social interaction. For those who have been critical of the upheaval, this quote sums it up: â€śIf these experts of the second order sound a bit hysterical, it is understandable. The change theyâ€™re facing from the miscellaneous is deep and real. Authorities have long filtered and organized information for us, protecting us from what isnâ€™t worth our time and helping us find what we need to give our beliefs a sturdy foundation. But with the miscellaneous, itâ€™s all available to us, unfilteredâ€? (Weinberger, 132).
Itâ€™s obvious Weinberger thinks Wikipedia is fabulous, because he gives us yet another Wikipedia example. The Encyclopedia Britannica claims to be written by â€śNobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winner, the leading scholars, writers, artists, public servants, and activists who are at the top of their fieldsâ€? (134). Wikipedia is written by anyone. Jimmy Wales, the founder, says they are more concerned with an authorâ€™s contribution, not their credentials. â€śWe care about pseudoidentity, not identityâ€? (135), so Zocky, a prolific contributor, has a great reputation and no one knows who this person really is.
But the whole point of being successful as a Wikipedia contributor, according to Wales, is to be neutral. â€śWikipedia insists that authors talk and negotiate because itâ€™s deadly serious about achieving a neutral point of viewâ€? (136). He also said that he considers an article neutral when people stop editing it. Weinberger calls this a â€śbrilliant operational definition of neutralityâ€? because it makes it a social interaction.
I havenâ€™t come across any of the neutrality notices (Weinberger, 140) Wikipedia posts on some of its most disputed pages, but I can imagine many are on pages that are politically oriented. And, as everyone knows, politics makes for some heated discussion that is rarely neutral. Itâ€™s hard to negotiate someone to your political viewpoint.
Anyway, Weinberger goes on to talk about the back and forth of negotiation between contributors and this isnâ€™t something Iâ€™ve wrapped my head around entirelyâ€¦so two people negotiate their differences on a page and are done working on it, â€śYet the page theyâ€™ve negotiated may not represent either personâ€™s point of view precisely. The knowing happened not in either oneâ€™s brain but in their conversation. The knowledge exists between the contributors. It is knowledge that has no knower. Social knowing changes who does the knowing and how, more than it changes the what of knowledgeâ€? (144). This makes me want to say, â€śhuh?â€?, but I think I get it. In social knowing, we learn things by actively working to make it understandable. We work with others to get their knowledge and pass along ours to make knowledge that is everyoneâ€™s. Anyone else want to chime in?