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Operations Research and Wikipedia

As part of my overview talk, I took a look at Operations Research in Wikipedia. Seeing a lack of pointer to this blog (which I think is a pretty good OR blog!), I went to fix it, but decided I had a Conflict of Interest, so reverted. I’ll leave it to others to decide if it should be added.

Anyway, I have mixed feelings about the OR section in Wikipedia. The long section on World War II applications simply reinforces the absolutely incorrect belief that OR may have been useful historically but has been superseded by newer, flashier methods. They are great stories, but they don’t really reflect the reality of OR today. I would much rather have summaries of recent Edelman finalists.

Some of this may be more general problems of describing science on Wikipedia, as this Wired blog entry by Thomas Goetz discusses:

Wikipedia is, by all measures, one of the great accomplishments of the Internet Age. I’m willing to say it stands alongside Google, eBay, GoogleMaps, IMDB and Wired.com as among the greatest resources on the Web (ok, that last one is self-serving).

But boy, does it suck when it comes to science topics.

Of course, there is nothing to stop me from doing some editing of the OR entry(short of COI), but I am trying to cut down on things I am doing. Perhaps someone will take it on as a weekend project. And I think an OR-oriented Wiki would be a great project.

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  1. Michael Trick | May 13, 2007 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    And of course, in the finest Wiki tradition, after the comment, the entry was cleaned up (by a non-OR person, as far as I can tell) to correct some of the issues I had.

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  1. […] on as I am, opportunities for “conflict of interest” abound. So a couple of years ago I decided to not edit operations research aspects of Wikipedia, leaving it to others. I am grateful that others work to make the entry better, though it is still […]