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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
Mapping Evolution in Wikipedia Trent Gilliss, Online Editor
Broadcasting this week’s show on Charles Darwin reminded me of this history flow diagram of the changing face of the Wikipedia explanation of evolution over time. Nearly four years have passed since I read about it in Discover magazine.
What would the graph look like nowadays? I’ll hazard a wild guess that it’s as colorful as ever, with myriad black columns (indicating the entry being deleted by vandals). Boy I’d love to see a follow-up chart for this trajectory.
(History Flow diagram courtesy of Frank Van Ham, Fernanda Viegas, and Martin Wattenberg of the Visual Communication Lab, IBM Research)

Mapping Evolution in Wikipedia
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

Broadcasting this week’s show on Charles Darwin reminded me of this history flow diagram of the changing face of the Wikipedia explanation of evolution over time. Nearly four years have passed since I read about it in Discover magazine.

What would the graph look like nowadays? I’ll hazard a wild guess that it’s as colorful as ever, with myriad black columns (indicating the entry being deleted by vandals). Boy I’d love to see a follow-up chart for this trajectory.

(History Flow diagram courtesy of Frank Van Ham, Fernanda Viegas, and Martin Wattenberg of the Visual Communication Lab, IBM Research)

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To Delete or Not to Delete

(photo:Vitor Sá - Virgu/Flickr)

Rob McGinley Myers, Associate Producer

I enjoyed Nicholson Baker’s essay about Wikipedia (a warning: in his discussion of Wikipedia vandalism, he quotes some profane language) in The New York Review of Books. He notes the astonishing fact that 1500 articles are deleted from Wikipedia every day, and there are warring factions of deletionists and inclusionists battling each other all the time.

Baker has often written about his worry that overlooked but wonderful things are disappearing from the world. He once said in an interview, “It makes me unhappy when certain things change or things are superceded… my nine year old daughter’s personality… Card catalogues; things too. Jiffy Pop right now feels imperiled. I always think, thank God it’s still hanging there, even though people don’t really buy it for the popcorn anymore — maybe they never did — but now it’s a nostalgia item.” (If I knew more about Wikipedia, I would edit the page on Jiffy Pop to include Baker’s anxiety about its continued survival.)

It made me think of St. Irenaeus, whom John O’Donohue quoted on our most recent show. A second century bishop of the Christian church, he helped delete a lot of early Scripture from the canon, including all the writing of the Gnostics. But when it came to choosing which of the several testaments to the life of Jesus was the right one, he gave up his deletionist tendencies and became an inclusionist. It was due in part to him that the New Testament included four gospels instead of just one.

(photo: slworking2/Flickr)

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