Sunday, August 19, 2007

Numbers Site Added

What could possibly go wrong with this new idea for a site, similar to Wikipedia, focused on numbers?

Carl Bialik, "The Numbers Guy" at the Wall Street Journal Online, describes Numberpedia thusly:

Numberpedia is full of promise and pitfalls. Like Wikipedia, each entry is supposed to include a link to source material and there are forums where other users can discuss and question entries.

Unlike Wikipedia, a contributor can opt to prevent other users from editing a certain entry. Mr. Silverberg doesn’t guarantee the numbers will be accurate, saying, “It’s up to the user who finds one of these statistics to judge the credibility of the author and the source.”

A wellspring of material for this blog is the failure of news media and press releases to provide adequate sourcing, context and caution about numbers. Numberpedia threatens to take that a step further, by stripping the number of out of its surroundings, and offering the nearest source—such as a newspaper article—even if that source was in turn citing another, which was citing another, and so on.

hat tip to Kane Citizen for noting a bad link.

Also, this may sound crankier than I'd intended because I'm wary of Wikipedia's accuracy, even though I peek at it a lot to get a quick picture of something I know nothing about. Kudos to Silverberg for setting this up. Let's see where it goes.

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