This semester I’m teaching an elective unit in Cyberspace Law at CDU. Research and preparation for it has been another of the reasons for the delayed reappearance of Missing Link.
However, it’s also involved a certain amount of fun. In the first online tutorial last week, we had a look at numerous “web 2.0” collaborative technologies including wikipedia (and blogs), and considered some legal aspects e.g. liability for third parties posting defamatory, obscene or racially abusive material etc.
In the course of the discussion we mused about the claims of wikipedia and similar systems to harness the “wisdom of crowds” and produce an end-product of remarkable size and accuracy given its amateur genesis. One student mentioned that wikipedia claimed that its collaborators generally noticed and corrected inacccuracies (especially deliberate ones) very quickly, usually within 20 minutes. I suggested that this might be an exaggeration, and a couple of students decided to test the claim. So far I’ve been a seminal influence on Austin Powers and one of the principal Founding Fathers who drafted Australia’s Constitution for some 8 hours. I wonder when they’ll notice?