Of all the recent mind-boggling social phenomenons on the web I might be most amazed by Wikipedia. It is the first place I look when I don’t know something. Every article is constantly evolving and improving and it seems to always have the exact piece of information that I am looking to find. Furthermore, the fact that anybody can edit and modify an entry and order reigns and chaos doesn’t ensue makes me think of it as some kind of crazy validation of Lockian philosophic principles that mankind is virtuous.
This kind of communal, user-generated information gathering would be fascinating if applied to sports. I’ll use college basketball as an example since it’s my passion. I probably have 20-30 amazing and unique college basketball stories. Most have to do with St. John’s – Ron Artest getting tendonitis in his thumb and missing a game after playing street fighter II for 12 hours straight, Fran Fraschilla whipping out his testicles and telling Felipe Lopez he is lacking a pair of nuts, and the many many amazing moments provide by Marcus Hatten.
I am positive everybody has their favorite stories about players, coaches and games. Most of these stories get lost with time. It would be next to impossible for me to get information on Billy Singleton (Malik’s frontcourt partner), or why Charles Minland punched Donnie Marshall (Marshall smacked him first).
I once wrote a nostalgic article about Serge Zwikker, a former UNC center/ogre that played in the early 90’s before the proliferation of foreign players. It was almost impossible to find information on Zwikker. I’m sure a Serge Zwikker wiki would be amazing for college basketball fans.
One problem I have with Wiki’s is that, along with collaboration, their purpose is to allow people to easily work on page output without having to know how to program. So why are Wiki’s so nerdy and scary to update? Why not make Wiki’s as easy to edit as it is to create a MySpace page. Have an interface that is graphical and user friendly – more like a powerpoint tool than the mystical secret language that it is right now.
Wiki’s will go niche. They already have – there is Wookieepidia, a Star Wars wiki, and a group I belong to called NextNY is starting a start-up wiki. But right now my imagination is captured by Sports Wikis. Here are a few more sports Wikis I would love to read