Random Rants – Wikipedia Woes & Matt Cutts Videos

Posted on in Blog

Wikipedia Copy Woes

A few weeks ago, I was doing research on the term “Semantic Web” and came across this Wikipedia Definition.

What caught my eye immediately was this block of text that appeared above the entry:

“This article or section seems not to be written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia entry.
Please improve the article or discuss proposed changes on the talk page. See Wikipedia’s guide to writing better articles for suggestions.”

What are they trying to say – that it doesn’t sound completely affected and full of academic jargon? Although I do respect how resourceful Wikipedia is, the editors have forgotten an important point in that online copywriting is a far different beast than copywriting for some venerable academic tome.

I’m not saying that Wikipedia entries should turn into subjective essays full of personal opinions, slang, or God forbid, run-on sentences. But couldn’t they at least be a little bit more engaging?

Maybe I’m playing with fire here suggesting that Wikipedia entries need to lighten up a bit. But I completely disagree that they should have to be written in a “formal tone”.

I instead recommend that we listen to the wise words of Nick Usborne when he asks why on earth we continue to focus on “bringing an ‘ATM’ style to the most interactive, vibrant, networked, warm and essentially human communications space imaginable.”

Here’s another interesting link I found on Wikipedia: Wikipedia Articles Needing Style Editing. Who decides which articles get relegated to this sorry category? A bot? I wonder…..

New Video Posts from Matt Cutts

Am I the only person who is less than thrilled that Matt Cutts is now answering juicy SEO questions via video? Well, I have a good reason. I wear a hearing aid, and his videos are definitely not closed captioned.

I find it ironic that a representative of Google, with its mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, would present data in a video-only format.

It’s a usability nightmare for a variety of reasons, from the fact that most professionals can’t disturb their coworkers by playing noisy videos at their desks to the fact that it’s hard to go back and re-read or reference a favorite excerpt to the fact that, oh yeah, I can’t even hear him in the first place. (Was that a run-on sentence?)

Disclaimer: I think Matt Cutts’ blog is a valuable resource, and one that the SEO community is very grateful for. I just wish I could hear what he was saying.

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