WikiLove Button Makes Us Trust Wikipedia Even Less

Nicole Fabian-Weber
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heartApparently, Wikipedia editors need love, too. The highly plagiarized, sometimes questionable online encyclopedia is going to be adding a new feature to their pages. No, it's not a "like" button. It's a "love" button, a "WikiLove" button.

As you know, the editors of Wikipedia all work on a volunteer basis (did you know that?). They're not, like, real editors. Well, that's how they feel, at least. According to a recent WikiStudy, the editors reportedly feel "looked down upon" by other, more experienced editors. And 78 percent of them say that the number one reason they continue to edit is having people compliment them on their articles. Positive reinforcement never fails.

So, how will this WikiLove thing work? Well, if you like -- sorry, love -- an article, you just click the little red heart on the top right. And if you really love the article, you can send the editor a "barnstar," or a "beer," or a "kitten." 'Cause everybody knows nothing says hard research like kittens.

This is the world we're living in now. A world where we get our confidence from "like" buttons and "barnstars." We post things on Facebook in hopes of receiving comments and "thumbs ups." We tweet to be retweeted. And if you're a user of the blog platform, Tumblr, you hope your posts get "hearted." The Internet is no longer a place strictly for information, porn, and bullying. It's a place where one click of the mouse provides the high of an ego boost. And Wikipedia wants in.

I guess I can't fault these editors who work hard -- for free -- for wanting praise. But I can fault the people who run the site A) for implementing such a superficial system into something that's supposed to be a "reference" site, and B) for picking the most ridiculous, immature awards possible. A kitten? A barnstar? That sounds like something that would be of more interest to a 4-year-old than an encyclopedia editor. If they're trying to be unique in not just adding a boring ol' "like" button (which you'll notice at the bottom of this article -- hint, hint), there's no point. It's the same system in theory, and a boring ol' "like" button is far less sophomoric than a barnstar.

But that's just this Internet enthusiast's opinion. 

What do you think of the WikiLove button -- and needing Internet Love in general?

 

Image via Neal./Flickr

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