Why encyclopaedic row speaks volumes about the old guard

John Naughton wrote about people doubting wikipedia this well phrased bit:

we have become so imbued by the conventional wisdom of managerial capitalism that we think the only way to do things is via hierarchical, top-down, tightly controlled organisations

I certainly can see this phenomenon among many researchers. For them, research is about specifying what ought to be in a top-down approach.

Planning is important: for things you can plan. You cannot plan an encyclopia. You cannot design an encyclopedia using a top-down approach. You cannot design most software using a top-down approach (you can, but your project will fail when you’ll face what you didn’t plan for). You can’t do research in a top-down approach (but you can if you want to build a particule accelerator).

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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