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Something Wiki This Way Comes

June 20, 2005

Re "A Wiki for Your Thoughts," editorial, June 17: In theory, a popular voice on the Op-Ed page is an advance. In practice, you've put minimal thought into the process.

I see by midday that the title of your first wikitorial already has morphed from "War and Consequences" into "Dreams About War and Retribution."

Some participants have erased nine-tenths of the content at any given time. Others are not amused. Here is a lesson about the public sphere: Language is delicate, and it takes a great deal more work to clarify matters than it does to obscure them. Instead of inventing a new form of national agora, you have built a virtual mosh pit.

There are technical fixes, of course, and if you wish to salvage this experiment instead of abandoning it to the spoilers, you need to explore them urgently.

I support your efforts, and wish you success.

Martin Edward Stein

Portola Valley, Calif.

*

The changes to your editorial page are perfect for this reader. The opportunity for me to fake it that I am a concerned citizen, and do nothing, as usual, is greatly appreciated.

I can't thank you enough for the ability to "change the page" so I can continue the delusion that I possess an "artistic nature" and divert my attention away from the pathetic life I lead living day to day in a megalopolis of cars, fast food and wealth envy. Oh well, I can always go to Geffen Beach and play in the sand dunes.

In closing, I wish to quote Paddy Chayefsky because I find that if I can dredge up obsequious quotes from true artists I can further enhance my delusion that recognizing brilliance is akin to being brilliant. "We sit in a house and slowly the world we're living in is getting smaller and all we can say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster, and TV, and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything.' " Now I can add Wiki World to my list of ways to fake life without actually being a participant.

Rus Mitchell

Encino

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