Wikipedia Amazement

Kristin was looking over my shoulder while I was online tonight, spotted my Wikipedia bookmark, and asked me what it was. I couldn't believe she hadn't used the site before, but was happy to demonstrate it's awe-inspiring power.

I told her to think of something, someplace, anything! She thought of nothing. So I typed in "Patagonia", being that we were recently looking over guided trips to Patagonia with REI. A wealth of information on this region in South America is instantly available. We do a couple other searches for other places we're interested in visiting and each search seems to bring up even more information than the last.

I decide we should try searching a person. "Name a person" I say to her. Again, Kristin can't think of a single person -- it's really quite amazing to watch someone so intelligent be so utterly stupified when posed such simple, open-ended questions -- so I type in "Shaun Alexander". The biography of the Seahawks' star running back is immediately on-screen. I was very impressed to see that his stats from last month's Super Bowl were already included, as well as the details on the 8-year contract he signed last week.

Now Kristin has an idea. "Do a search on Hutch" she says and see if his new offer is on there. Steve Hutchinson is the Seahawks' Pro-Bowl left guard and just this afternoon he signed an offer sheet with the Minnesota Vikings.

"There's no way they'll have that info on their already. Nothing's final yet. Seattle has 7 days to match it." Or so I thought.

So we typed in "Steve Hutchinson" and after a brief biography (about 1/5 the size of Alexander's) there it was, the details on the offer from Minnesota that was made just hours ago.

Being that Wikipedia is, for the most part, updated by the general human population and then fact-checked by the general human population, I must wonder how many people make a point of rushing to update various Wikipedia entries as soon as something happens. Is this how that site works, or is there more to it than that? I mean, unless you're an NFL diehard or a Seahawks fan, you probably don't even know who Steve Hutchinson is. Yet his Wikipedia entry was updated with information pertaining to his contract negotiations within hours of it happening. Not only would the old Encyclopedia Britannica not have even included him, but it would have taken at least several years for this information to be included in a published volume.

Hours? Are you kidding me?

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