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Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Petition to Classify Wikipedia a "World Wonder"
Hugh Pickens writes writes "he NY Times reports that a global petition drive has started to add Wikipedia to one of UNESCO's world heritage lists joining such historic monuments and natural sites as the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Wall of China, and the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur. 'The basic idea is to recognize that Wikipedia is this amazing global cultural phenomena that has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,' says Jimmy Wales. 'Too often, people think about us purely in terms of technology, when this is about culture, high tech and learning.' Getting Wikipedia listed will be an uphill battle although a petition drive has already started. It will have to negotiate a complicated approval process and overcome the skeptical regard of Unesco and heritage consultants to be considered for recognition. Susan Williams, the head of external media relations at Unesco in Paris, said a bid by a digital entity like Wikipedia would be unprecedented. 'Anyone can apply,' says Williams, who added that she was not aware of Wikipedia's plans. 'But it may have difficulty fulfilling the criteria.' The problem is that to be included on the World Heritage List alongside the Great Wall of China, Wikipedia must be found 'to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius,' which it's not says Adam Chen. 'We like dorking around on Wikipedia as much as the next person,' writes Chen. 'But Wikipedia resembles less the masterpiece of a genius than the fixation of an idiot savant.'"