Communal online encyclopedias represent one of the latest resources to be found on the Internet. They are in many respects like traditional printed encyclopedias collections of articles on various subjects. What is specific to these online encyclopedias, however, is that any Internet user can contribute a new article or make an editorial change in an existing one. As a result, the encyclopedia is authored by the whole community of Internet users. The idea might sound attractive, but the communal online encyclopedias have several important problems that make them much less valuable than traditional, printed encyclopedias.
First, contributors to a communal online encyclopedia often lack academic credentials, thereby making their contributions partially informed at best and downright inaccurate in many cases. Traditional encyclopedias are written by trained experts who adhere to standards of academic rigor that nonspecialists cannot really achieve.
Second, even if the original entry in the online encyclopedia is correct, the communal nature of these online encyclopedias gives unscrupulous users and vandals or hackers the opportunity to fabricate, delete, and corrupt information in the encyclopedia. Once changes have been made to the original text, an unsuspecting user cannot tell the entry has been tampered with. None of this is possible with a traditional encyclopedia.
Third, the communal encyclopedias focus too frequently, and in too great a depth, on trivial and popular topics, which creates a false impression of what is important and what is not. A child doing research for a school project may discover that a major historical event receives as much attention in an online encyclopedia as, say, a single long-running television program. The traditional encyclopedia provides a considered view of what topics to include or exclude and contains a sense of proportion that online "democratic" communal encyclopedias do not.
The communal online encyclopedia will probably never be perfect, but that's a small price to pay for what it does offer. The criticisms in the reading are largely the result of prejudice against and ignorance about how far online encyclopedias have come.
First, errors. It's hardly a fair criticism that encyclopedias online have errors. Traditional encyclopedias have never been close to perfectly accurate, if you are looking for a realty comprehensive reference work without any mistakes, you are not going to find it, on or off line. The real point is that it's easy for errors in factual material to be corrected in an online encyclopedia. But with the printed and bound encyclopedia, the errors remain for decades.
Second, hacking. Online encyclopedias have recognized the importance of protecting their articles from malicious hackers. One strategy they started using is to put the crucial facts in the articles that nobody disputes in a read-only format, which is a format that no one can make changes to. That way you are making sure that the crucial facts in the articles are reliable. Another strategy that's being used is to have special editors whose job is to monitor all changes made to the articles and eliminate those changes that are clearly malicious.
Third, what's worth knowing about? The problem for traditional encyclopedias is that they have limited space, so they have to decide what's important and what's not. And in practice, the judgments of the group of academics that make these decisions don't reflect the great range of interests that people really have. But space is definitely not an issue for online encyclopedias. The academic articles are still represented in online encyclopedias, but there can be a great variety of articles and topics that accurately reflect the great diversity of users' interests. The diversity of use in topics that online encyclopedias offer is one of their strongest advantages.
Main points: Online encyclopedias have several important problems.
Sub point 1: Lack of academic credentials
Sub point 2: Can be fabricated, deleted or corrupted.
Sub point 3: Focus on popular topics and create false impression.
Attitude: The criticism are prejudice.
Sub Point 1: Can correct errors in an online encyclopedia.
Sub Point 2: Crucial facts are read-only. Special editors monitor changes.
Sub Point 3: Online encyclopedias has no space limit and variety of interests.
The lecturer addresses each of the three criticisms of communal online encyclopedias mentioned in the reading passage.
The lecturer admits that communal online encyclopedias, like any reference book, may contain errors, but she then claims that these errors can be corrected much more easily and quickly than those printed in a physical encyclopedia. The reading passage, in contrast, points to the inaccuracy of information in online encyclopedias, presenting the argument that errors in these resources are due to a lack of professional knowledge among contributors.
The lecturer then gives two strategies that have proven very effective in protecting online encyclopedias from malicious alteration. She explains that contents consisting of indisputable facts are stored and presented in a read-only format so that nobody can make changes to them. In addition, she says, there are specialists who constantly monitor contents online so that they can quickly remove suspicious or inaccurate material once it is detected.
The lecturer also challenges the final point in the reading regarding the nature of topics covered in online encyclopedias. She says that because of virtually unlimited space on the Internet, there is no need to worry about what is important enough for inclusion in an online encyclopedia; everything can be given space. Moreover, the greater the variety of topics in online encyclopedias truly reflects the genuine interests of the general public, even if some of these topics are less serious or academic than those in traditional encyclopedias.
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2. Malicious: 恶意
The famous actor was surrounded by malicious gossips.
3. Genuine: 真实的
A genuine friend will not leave you when you are in trouble.