CPoV: High Noon in Zedlertown


Critical Point of View is the name of a number of events that takes a critical look on Wikipedia, since 2009. On September 24th to 26th 2010 it happened in Leipzig (Germany), not only the Heroes’ Town of GDR opposition but also a place of activity of encyclopedia hero Johann Heinrich Zedler. The CPoV-convention revealed, again, deep trenches between Wikipedians, Wikipedists (Wikipedia researches) and the followers of Critical Theory.

For about a dozen lectures and a panel discussion was listed in the programme, together with a work shop, a meeting for networking and a “round table”. The organisation lay mainly in the hands of Johanna Niesyto and Andreas Möllenkamp (two Wikipedians and Wikipedists). Physical host was the library of the university, Bibliotheka Albertina.

At the convention, and more afterwards in the blogosphere, a certain conflict rose between a professor on the one hand and a Wikipedian on the other. The professor is obviously a Wikipedia fan but criticized the quality of many articles on history. The Wikipedian is known for uttering his opinions in a very direct way, which the professor objected.

Some lectures were not Wikipedia focussed but delivered a useful framework for Wikipedia issues, others had Wikipedia has its explicit subject. But there were other lectures that did not only have nothing to do with Wikipedia or encyclopedias: Even the most benevolent listener had difficulties to understand what it was about at all. Partially this had to do with the affiliation of these lecturers with the Critical Theory, famously known for buzz wording. A lecturer can expect the listeners to be open-minded, but he does have to give them at least a chance to understand him.

Nevertheless, the convention was a pleasant and interesting place to show and tell, to meet and make friends.

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