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Whinging about Wikipedia 
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:22 am
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
Peter Scott wrote:
Apropos of very little, this timely cartoon just appeared:

http://www.xkcd.com/545/


If we were discussing brats, that cartoon is ample evidence that the artist is one. ;-) I laughed out loud so hard my husband came in thinking I was choking!

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Catherine Jefferson <ctiydspmrz@ergosphere.net>
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Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:03 pm
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
Jim, this one's for you:

http://www.thelocal.de/society/20090212-17397.html

BTW, I defy you to read that without thinking of Monty Python.


Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:54 am
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
There are many decaffeinated brands on the market these days, James, that are just as flavorful as the real thing.

:-)

In point of fact, my experience of Wikipedia is exactly that it is peopled by editors for whom referring to 'Eurhythmics' as 'The Eurhythmics' would get you skewered.

I hate to say this, because I do it myself, and I'm not fond of people pointing it out to me... but I think your distaste for WP is personal, not business.

I base that in part on the fact that you haven't responded to my accusing you of strawman argument earlier this month, on this thread -- which is grounds for pistols at dawn in these parts, no? :-)


Wed Feb 25, 2009 3:19 pm
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
I didn't find any of your comments particularly relevant to the discussion, B. I thus nodded and moved on. The matters at hand are already complex and diffuse enough.

I find it interesting and a bit chilling that no one has quite addressed the specific issues I've raised, but rather have tried to reframe the discussion to terms they find more comfortable or convince me of WP's validity on other, only distantly related grounds.

Huh. Or maybe Hurm.


Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:54 pm
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
Well, between this response, and your handwave on the Rolling Roads thread, James... I'm starting to come to the conclusion that it's *you*, dude.

You're accusing not only me, but Bill and Peter, of handwaving you in our replies on this topic, and, man, I just don't see it.


Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:04 pm
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
No, Peter's been quite on point, and Bill's comments have been insightful if characteristically aslant. Yours seemed a little out of left field.

If you want to accuse me of handwaving and that it's somehow "me" here, fine. I won't argue. I've made my statements, have made them in multiple forums over the years, and have had more people clearly agree with my fears about Wikipedia subsuming the notion of "reference" in an ever-expanding population than have cogently disagreed. Disagreement often takes the form of mentioning the WP vs. EB comparisons (irrelevant) or even showing an obvious anti-expert, even anti-intellectual bias ("We'se all jest as smart as them aaaiixx-perts!")

If you've got an addressable point to make other than that you think WP is just dandy, please take all the space you like to make it. Saying it's somehow "me" adds nothing and is not worth trying to debate.


Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:23 pm
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
One of the reasons we have different experiences with Wik is that the old blind men and elephant problem. There is no one thing there. There are many different microenvironments and no one experiences more than a few. There are some general features which point me in the direction of thinking that the thing isn't all that wonderful. But my own experiences there haven't been bad.


Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:42 pm
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
Will in New Haven wrote:
One of the reasons we have different experiences with Wik is that the old blind men and elephant problem. There is no one thing there. There are many different microenvironments and no one experiences more than a few. There are some general features which point me in the direction of thinking that the thing isn't all that wonderful. But my own experiences there haven't been bad.

With all respect, Will, that's what I'd regard as an irrelevant tangent. It is, IMVVHO, the underlying concept and mechanism of WP that is the danger, not any one surface facet - or any number of surface facets. WP represents a dangerous shift in the notions of expertise and reference standards that is being overlooked or dismissed because, by gosh, the entry on Cesium is just as good as the EB's.

Wikis are valuable things - I refer to and contribute to a number of them. But most are understood to be wikis - just the collected and collated writing/knowledge of whomever happened to wander by.

Wikipedia is both regarded as, and is desperately trying to position itself as, a worthy and acceptable substitute for real, vetted, peer-reviewed expertise in reference form. It is not. It never will be. It never can be. But the number of bright young sprogs and netizens who think otherwise is frighteningly large.


Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:04 pm
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
James Gifford wrote:
Will in New Haven wrote:
One of the reasons we have different experiences with Wik is that the old blind men and elephant problem. There is no one thing there. There are many different microenvironments and no one experiences more than a few. There are some general features which point me in the direction of thinking that the thing isn't all that wonderful. But my own experiences there haven't been bad.

With all respect, Will, that's what I'd regard as an irrelevant tangent. It is, IMVVHO, the underlying concept and mechanism of WP that is the danger, not any one surface facet - or any number of surface facets. WP represents a dangerous shift in the notions of expertise and reference standards that is being overlooked or dismissed because, by gosh, the entry on Cesium is just as good as the EB's.

Wikis are valuable things - I refer to and contribute to a number of them. But most are understood to be wikis - just the collected and collated writing/knowledge of whomever happened to wander by.

Wikipedia is both regarded as, and is desperately trying to position itself as, a worthy and acceptable substitute for real, vetted, peer-reviewed expertise in reference form. It is not. It never will be. It never can be. But the number of bright young sprogs and netizens who think otherwise is frighteningly large.

My impression is that Wikipedia is regarded now about the same way the World Book Encyclopedia or the Funk & Wagnalls (remember when you got those a volume at a time in the supermarket?) when I was growing up.


Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:17 pm
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
Bill Patterson wrote:
My impression is that Wikipedia is regarded now about the same way the World Book Encyclopedia or the Funk & Wagnalls (remember when you got those a volume at a time in the supermarket?) when I was growing up.

Maybe. But even that's wrong. While the lesser encyclopedias didn't have the greatest editorial staffs in the world, they still followed the practice of being written by experts, vetted by experts, and edited by professionals to a reasonably rigid and defined set of standards. Certainly, you took the stuffy and verbose EB over the good old E-Z-2-read WB... but you could reasonably trust the validity of the WB as far as its entry went.

Voting on the facts by experts and idiots (indistinguishable from each other) does not a reference make. Especially when we've established that the senior exiots are arbitrary and largely self-appointed.


Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:24 pm
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