Sep 07 2007 Fri
3:16 am PHT
Nope, that title you read above is not a critical opinion. It’s a statement of fact enshrined in WikiPilipinas’ Policies and Guidelines. As Mr. Gus Vibal, the founder of Filipiniana.net and WikiPilipinas, has said, WikiPilipinas is envisioned to be the one-stop-shop for all things popular and Pinoy. There you can find articles like the “Cutest PBA Players” or “Top 10 Philippine Female Movie Villains”, which while definitely are interesting to read, is of dubious value in an academic context. Hence the “not an academic encyclopedia” description.
Last week saw the successful launch of WikiPilipinas during the 28th Manila International Book Fair at the World Trade Center. I was able to attend two events: first is the bloggers dinner last Friday night (thanks to Annalyn Jusay of the Manila Bulletin) and the second is the “2nd Manila Wikipedia Meetup” cum “WikiPilipinas Team Meets Pinoy Wikipedians” last Sunday.
You may remember that I wrote a critical piece against WikiPilipinas (then called Wikipiniana) over a month ago. That post drew up the most contentious comment thread in my blog ever. A lot of things have changed since then so I need to update my not-so NPOV article. (Lame inside joke there. Hehehe.)
I was also interviewed by Annalyn Jusay allowing me to air some of my updated position regarding WikiPilipinas vis-a-vis Wikipedia.
Gus Vibal and Filipiniana.net
Regarding Filipiniana.net, I have no idealogical objections to it. In fact I think it is the best site for Filipiniana studies. They provide tons of primary source materials free of charge! (Though not necessarily free as in speech.) If you’re a history buff, you’d be delighted to pore over their collection of books from the last century.
I was able to meet Mr. Gus Vibal, the founder of Filipiniana.net and WikiPilipinas during the bloggers dinner and the Wikipedia Meetup. My impression of him is that he is a passionate patriot and a very charismatic man. He clearly sees business potential in giving knowledge away and Filipiniana.net and WikiPilipinas are proof of that.
While we may disagree on several things (like his disdain for Wikipedia’s Neutral Point of View), I would like to say that our country needs more people like him. He has a sense of inspiration, a healthy love for our country, and a good dose of enthusiasm for knowledge that sometimes borders on craziness. (One of his staff says he is nuts; I won’t tell who to protect the guilty. Hehehe.)
The Manila Bulletin Interview
Manila Bulletin’s resident blogger-journalist, Annalyn “Ajay” Jusay, attended the WikiPilipinas press launch last August 23. She subsequently wrote an article about the website and mirrored it on her blog. It was there that I commented about my dissenting opinion and that’s how she cooked up the idea to interview me “to present the other side.” You can read the first part of that interview online. The first part talks about my passion for Wikipedia (I am a die-hard Wikipedian after all) and several of my updated points against WikiPilipinas.
Incidentally, I am now also a victim of the Bulletin’s inept layout artist, something Yuga mentioned before. This time, they’re supposed to show a screenshot of Wikipedia but the URL they accessed had an extra period tacked at the end giving us a lovely view of Wikipedia’s version of the 404.
As I suspected, most bloggers were ambivalent regarding WikiPilipinas. They think it’s a nice site and all but during the after-dinner at Harbour Square, several mentioned that they were left with more unanswered questions. This is evidenced by the lack of blog entries regarding WikiPilipinas from the attending bloggers and polite ones from those that did blog about it. For instance, see Karla’s, Darwin’s, Karlo’s, Sexymom’s, and Azrael’s blog posts. Only Juned was up to the task of dissecting the information presented that night. Additionally, Gail, who was able to attend the press launch, told me during the recent Taste Asia foodfest that she also did not see the point of WikiPilipinas.
Anyway, shout-outs go to Rico, Sasha, Shari, Eric, Juned, AJ, and Karlo who I joined for some coffee, pictures, and love life stories over at Starbucks Harbour Square after the dinner. I really wanted to stay longer but my sisters wanted to go home already. Also spotted at the dinner were Noemi, Dine, Jonas, and Robby. Did I miss anyone?
(I’d like apologize to the other bloggers present that night for my antagonistic attitude during the open forum. Well, if Gus Vibal is passionate about WikiPilipinas, so am I regarding Wikipedia. )
Manila Wikipedia Meetup 2
The first time Filipino Wikipedians met up was last May 20 of this year. We were already planning for a second meetup when the WikiPilipinas issue broke out. Gus Vibal then gave a lengthy piece of his mind then offered to host the second meetup at their expense. We accepted the offer and meetup and dialogue pushed through.
If you’re interested to know what happened, we have an evolving write-up in Wikipedia. As a summary, we are able to clarify the respective positions of the two camps and we Wikipedians recognize that WikiPilipinas has minimal impact on Wikipedia. WikiPilipinas is essentially just a means to an end and that end is to promote Filipiniana.net and to drive academic content there, an aim that is something we agree with. An incidental benefit is that the people who are wont to put up nonsense/spam or to vandalize Wikipedia will instead be attracted to WikiPilipinas instead. Hehehe.