House of Cards Wikipedia

In his essays What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About The New Media Literacies parts one and two, Henry Jenkins writes about Pierre Levy’s idea of collective intelligence.  Collective intelligence is the notion the collective mind and knowledge of many, far surpasses the knowledge of any one individual (Jenkins).  Collective intelligence is in direct opposition to the idea of the expert paradigm where there are few people that are “experts” about a topic, and they are who should be teaching the topic to people who want to learn about it.  Wikipedia is a website that is completely based on the idea of collective intelligence, and is a space where anyone that is willing to help to expand the knowledge it houses is able to do so.  This is because Wikipedians believe that no one knows everything, everyone knows something, and by bringing all these little pieces together, they are able to create something much greater (Jenkins).

House_of_Cards_title_cardOne Wikipedia article that displays some of the processes of collective intelligence is the US version of House of Cards.  Upon quickly glancing through the article, it became apparent that Henry Jenkins was correct when saying that Wikipedia is never finished, but is rather a constant work in progress.  Season 3 of this TV show was released only a couple weeks ago, and due to its relative newness, the section of the plot dedicated to this season was thin.  The first two seasons have several paragraphs with an in depth view of the plot that has developed over the past two years.  Since there aren’t nearly as many people who have completed the third season yet, there have been few edits to the section.  This is one of the few examples where an expert may be able to provide a better and more complete discussion on the topic at the moment.  However, when the collective pool finishes watching the season and all begin to update the section, a more diverse and more accurate discussion will appear (Wikipedia).

A long, more complete description of Season 2, above a relatively thin Season 3.

A long, more complete description of Season 2, above a relatively thin Season 3.

Upon peering into the talk section for this article, I found an interesting argument between several of the editors.  The discussion pages on Wikipedia are the place where the community aspect behind collective intelligence really shines.  This particular disagreement was about whether season 2 should be documented on the series page before it had officially been posted to Netflix (Wikipedia).  It was interesting to see both sides of the argument use the Wikipedia guidelines as their defense, before ultimately coming to the consensus that the guidelines were not complete as they contradicted themselves about when to add seasons and episodes to the page and that instead.  The author was directed to see how the online community had decided to deal with this on other TV shows pages instead of the guidelines themselves.  This shows that even the bounds of Wikipedia are never complete.

Disagreement between two users over whether to include Season 2.

Disagreement between two users over whether to include Season 2.

At the time of writing, the Revision Statistics page was down, but looking through the past 500 revisions showed that a variety of people have taken to editing this page, and that it is likely the views of many that are displayed within it, rather than the opinions of just one (Jenkins).  This makes it a good example of collective intelligence as Pierre Levy defines it, and a well maintained Wikipedia page.


Works Cited:

“House of Cards (U.S. TV Series).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 8 Mar. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Cards_(U.S._TV_series)&gt;.

Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (PART ONE).” Confessions of an AcaFan. Web. 8 Mar. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab.html&gt;.

Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (PART TWO).” Confessions of an AcaFan. Web. 8 Mar. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/06/what_wikipedia_can_teach_us_ab_1.html&gt;.

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