Namuwiki for President

Yun Seok-yeol pledged he would post his campaign promises on the popular wiki site.

Namuwiki for President

Image: Namuwiki's front page.  Credit: Namuwiki.

In the English-speaking internet, Wikipedia has become the standard of basic knowledge. In the Korean-speaking internet, the same role is played by its rowdier cousin, Namuwiki 나무위키. Founded in 2007 (under the name Enhawiki 엔하위키 at the time,) Namuwiki rivals the Korean language Wikipedia as the de facto wiki of the Korean-speaking internet.

Wikipedia in Korean (1.27m) has more articles than Namuwiki (938k), but Namuwiki articles often contain more detail (especially with respect to pop culture items such as K-pop idol groups and Japanese anime). In a Google search in Korean for a generic term, a Namuwiki entry often appears right before or after a Wikipedia entry.

Used in moderation, Namuwiki can be an excellent resource. It is, for example, one of the few sites in Korean that has a comprehensive list of metro stations in Korea with a restroom inside the ticketing gates - a critical resource for anyone who urgently needing a bathroom break while riding the subway.

But overall, because of its jokey, meme-filled tone, Namuwiki is plagued with the same issues of the early Wikipedia, making it more of a junkyard of dubiously sourced trivia rather than a finely curated museum of knowledge. Because of this, many raised eyebrows when People Power Party presidential candidate Yun Seok-yeol 윤석열 국민의힘 대선 후보 pledged that he would post his campaign promises on Namuwiki, to publicize and invite debate over them. And some of the Namuwiki contributors expressed concern that Yun was attempting to privatize what is intended to be a publicly available resource.

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