Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Memes and memetics on Wikipedia

Wikipedia has some articles on memes and memetics:

Alas, I don't usually have time for editing Wikipedia - but I do have a couple of comments:

The Wikipedia articles are pretty positive. The "criticisms" sections are mostly filled with nonsense (as opposed to criticisms by scientists in the field). There's some signs of problems in the "Talk" sections, but the pages themselves are fairly clean. These pages are also much more heavily linked to than the more sober page about Dual inheritance theory. Looking at Wikipedia, you might think that memetics was the most popular theory of cultural evolution out there.

While I'm delighted to see memes getting good coverage, it does seem to be a curious and distorted picture of where most of the scientific effort has been taking place.

By contrast, look at Wikipedia's page on cultural evolution. The page is terrible. It is full of irrelevant and useless material - with minimal coverage of the actual topic.

I think that the internet might have a pro-meme bias. I know that lots of geeks are meme-friendly, and take it for granted that memetics - or something a lot like it - is essentially correct. I'd be delighted if Wikipedia's coverage of memes is a sign of things to come.

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