Saturday, March 21, 2015

An appeal for generational concepts in Wikipedia

I often find a new thing that I haven't ever heard of, so I google it. A lot of the time, the first link returned is the Wikipedia article about that concept and I open it to get a general idea of what it is about. Most of the time I understand it immediately, but in some cases - mostly involving hard science like high level mathematics - that page is just a bunch of gibberish that means less to me than what I was looking to clarify in the first place. I mean, when I am searching for something, I usually use words, so there: much clearer.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't want to understand what is described on that page. One idea I had is that of "generational concepts", in other words the concepts that one needs to understand before tackling a new one. They are not "related concepts", they are not links to terms used in the description, they are the general concepts that you need to get first. I find it interesting and useful for several reasons:
  • I could open the links to those concepts and, if I understand them, I could come back and get the one that I wanted
  • If I don't understand the basic concepts, they would also have generational concepts to investigate
  • No one actually needs to create an entire chain of pages, like a teacher in a class, but just edit and existing page and link to the base concepts for it, yet the result is like a course that one can follow up and down
  • It would add context (and thus interest) to Wikipedia, which is now used as a collection of disparate tidbits
  • It would answer the question that I always ask myself when I open an incomprehensible page: what need I know in order to understand this crap?

So now I should put some time aside for fixing Wikipedia.