Saturday, August 15, 2009

Field Manuals Via Wikipedia

The NY Times has an article on the Army using wikipedia software to rewrite some field manuals.

(One of the biggest surprises of my brief and involuntary Army career was the extent to which the Army had manuals, though for me mostly technical manuals on generators, etc.)

I'm torn:
  • on the one hand I like the concept. Wikipedia mostly has good to excellent quality in their articles, so it is possible. I like the idea of spreading the workload and getting the input from diverse sources. (Note my prior post on the burden FSA field offices when their directives are dispersed.)
  • on the other hand, having participated in the open government experiments of OSTP, I'm dubious over the practicality. After all, Wikipedia has been around for years and survived some rough times. They've had a learning curve, and still have issues. I'm suspicious a high-level bureaucrat will see wikipedia software as a silver bullet and will kill the project when it turns out to be a long hard slog up the hill.

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