Inclusionist or Exclusionist?

Wikipedia has caused an ongoing debate between its users, in which two groups have been formed: the inclusionists and exclusionists. Carr explains this debate is just as serious as the abortion debate, the death penalty debate, and the gun control debate (Carr, p. 197). Inclusionists believe there should be no constraints on the breedth of the encyclopedia (Carr, p, 198), in which any article submitted should be used. The opposing group, the exclusionists, believes Wikipedia should be treated as a serious encyclopedia where small or inappropriate articles are to be deleted. With 207 inclusionists and 144 exclusionists, the inclusionists group is winning with the most support (Carr, pg. 198)

In my opinion I couldn’t agree more with the inclusionists group as they have a better argument in this age of digital culture. Today, we have access to the Internet at the tip of our fingers, which provides us with an enormous amount of information. Wikipedia is a very useful website that generally provides users with answers for any topic; since it has no constraints on size there should be no limits on what is posted. If there is a place for an article on almost any topic on Wikipedia then there is no reason to set limits and delete articles. The people in control should focus more on making the entries better quality instead of picking which entries to delete (Carr, p. 197). If Wikipedia has no limit for space then holding information on almost any topic is a very useful tool because it would prevent users from having to search other sites. Also, if users are able to find information regarding a certain topic elsewhere then why can’t Wikipedia include it? If it is on other websites then it is important enough to be on Wikipedia.

I understand that the exclusionists want Wikipedia to be more like a serious encyclopedia, which includes deleting ‘less’ important articles, but if this were to happen we would be ignoring specific information that the people in control find inappropriate. Wikipedia is a way to collect knowledge on any subject and the more articles included the better chance users have finding information regarding whatever topic they want. Today, it is important to include everyone’s knowledge and views because there are so many cultures and specific subjects that not everyone is trained in, which is why the inclusionists approach is more appropriate. Also, if using the inclusionist’s method, there would be less bias opinions on Wikipedia because everyone has the opportunity to include information, instead of only ‘credible’ individuals who only support more important ideologies.

The biggest concern with submitting articles on Wikipedia is whether or not they are reliable, which is why when using an inclusionists approach every article still has to be factual and credible. During my high school years and in University most teachers recommended avoiding using Wikipedia as a reference, but this is because Wikipedia is believed to be a place where anyone can edit anything. Carr explains this idea of Wikipedia is a myth as Wikipedia does have restrictions implemented in order to keep Wikipedia accurate.

Overall, using the inclusionists approach means giving all topics importance and worthiness. In contrast, the exclusionists model ignores the idea of Wikipedia’s openness, but rather claims only appropriate articles should be included on the site and others shall be deleted. With today’s rapid changes and easy access to the Internet no information should be excluded from the web unless there is solid reasoning.

Carr, Nicholas. “ Questioning Wikipedia .” Critical Point of View: A Wikipedia Reader. Ed. Geert Lovink and Nathaniel Tkacz. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2011. 191-202.

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