You know something has arrived when it’s used to describe a phenomenon. Or what people hope will be a phenomenon. Here’s a sampling:
- Laptops This from Nicholas Negroponte, describing his $100 laptop for the developing world (via Andy Carvin’s Waste of Bandwidth): “It’s the Wikipedia equivalent (of hardware),” he said, describing the spirit of the laptop initiative.
- Gasbuddy Poster at ezboard: “It’s the Wikipedia of Gas pumps. I use it whenever I need gas. I can’t believe I forgot about it until now.”
- New York Times — This from a Xanga blogger: “It’s the Wikipedia of newspapers: great resource with plenty of interesting but useless content. For goodness’ sake, it’s a newspaper, not Cosmo Girl.”
- The UK Good Food/Good Pub guide, described on Wikipedia chat as “It’s the wikipedia of food guides”
- Urban Dictionary — described by this blogger as “the Wikipedia of the streets beyach!”
- Sushi World Guide — “it seems the community is still growing. It is the ‘Wikipedia of Sushi’.
- Pure Energy Systems – “ We will be the Wikipedia of alternate energy technology.”
- Wondir — hailed on the unofficial google blog as “the Wikipedia of answer sites”
- Dermatlas — described here as “the Wikipedia of dermatology atlases“
- Math World — described here as “the wikipedia of math”
- GuitarWiki — described by a visitor as possibly becoming “the Wikipedia of the guitar world“
What is sad is that they mean it in a positive way. However, Wikipedia is chock full of errors and, while it certainly has its place, it’s hardly something to compare a quality product to.
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It reminds me of one that was around for a long time, and still pops up — “It’s like (some existing technology) on steroids!”
Though I confess, I have occasionally used this as a PR rep. Looking back, it was a lazy description, and at least I did move on to better ones.
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Maybe the problem isn’t that people are referring to things as “the Wikipedia of…” but that they stop there; they don’t come up with other comparisons. Are people lazy, or are they in such a rush to do more in less time that they latch on to the first metaphor that comes to mind?
The contents of Wikipedia is from different people and not from the developers of Wiki, bur still, it’s a great resource.