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As for why we have these lists instead of simply fixing problems ourselves:
If a person takes in one work of fiction each week (that means, for example, reading an entire novel series or marathoning an entire television series or an entire web comic run, not reading a single book, watching a single episode, or reading a single strip), and that person has 80 years in which he or she can understand and appreciate fiction between becoming literate and becoming senile, then that person can experience 4,160 works - assuming the person never repeats a favourite work.
This means that it is impossible for a single person -- or two people coordinating their entire lives so that they never watch, play, or read even one work that the other has experienced, for that matter -- to experience all works of fiction (without substantial life extension measures that do not appear to be forthcoming any time soon). It's simple grade-school math.
So, no, we cannot go and read or watch it ourselves - life is literally too short for that to be possible. We must rely on people reading and acting on these lists in order to alert people who are already familiar with the works in question that there's an issue.
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