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The Writings on the Stall

Monday, 2004-09-20


Wikipedia serves a perfect example of the power of community. And the overall goodness in people.

Why? Read on.

The thoughts I have of Wikipedia probably aren't original, but I catch myself saying them to friends often. In seeing the spark that I pass leads me to believe that my thoughts may be of value to others.

The faith that Wikipedia's users put in the project so that it will reach critical mass pulls me in. When Wikipedia hits such a point (if it hasn't already), is not what inspires me, though.

Critical mass, and the idea of creating a time-tested, and peer-reviewed, resource, means more for future generations than it does for myself today. This is what I find beautiful about Wikipedia. Every time I make even a minor correction on an entry, I know that I've advanced the project. After making a change, I sense a bond with everyone else that has assisted the site's journey.

Also, in a world where we find it hard to trust others, Wikipedia works. It's not easy to keep the trolls away, but the community manages to. The good intents of many drown out the relative few who attempt to damage the project.

So what does the title of this post have anything to do with Wikipedia? Everything.

Retronym is a new word for me. Both the word and its concept were brought to me by Wikipedia.

A retronym is a new word or phrase coined for an old object or concept whose original name became used for something else, or was no longer unique.

Like items I studied out of curiosity as a little kid, retronym is a word that has captivated the adult in me. Thanks Wikipedia!


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