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- View topic - Whinging about Wikipedia
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Whinging about Wikipedia 
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Heinlein Biographer

Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:33 pm
Posts: 1024
Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia


Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:59 pm
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NitroForum Oldster

Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:05 am
Posts: 238
Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
Yes, in the near term, my post would appear a mite laughable- what's scary though is watching what is acceptable "research" for my high school aged kids- at best one hard copy source is acceptable in a LARGE writing project- the rest can be on line sources!!! As the ease of just googling for material proliferates, the hard work of seeking within authoritative texts accordingly diminishes !

what happens when the online data source becomes so broad that it becomes acceptable as a sole source of info ? what occurs when this info source becomes one humongous data base (with appropriate government oversight)? - it's a frightening progression- seriously, i'm not, at heart, a fear monger. What happens when you/I begin connecting the dots ? at the very least you're faced with apprehensions of where we're headed as a culture- why do hard research when your computer can perform the gathering and sorting (and perhaps eventually) the correlation of all the materials ? what happens when your info sources are controlled by one authority? corruption- to who's benefit?

the quest for power in the name of "right" ? who determines what's right? it's a type of gordian knot

beware for whom the computer tolls, for it tolls for thee (my apologies to Mr. Poe)

Nick


Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:31 am
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PITA Bred
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 2402
Location: The Quiet Earth
Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
There is a difference in viewpoints throughout this thread that I think is confusing things.

From the perspective of a properly educated and trained scholar, WP is a minor pop-culture phenomenon with interesting if casual purposes. You'll get no argument from me that this is a valid viewpoint. Very little of my concern comes from what might be called "skilled misuse" of WP and its contents. Several of you have spent a lot of words dismissing my comments from this viewpoint - which is largely irrelevant to the gist of what I'm saying.

The other perspective is that the vast number of more casual users assign too much validity to WP's content, and its relative stature. I have seen people say that "this isn't just from some web page, it's from WIKIPEDIA!" as if there was much difference. I suppose you can dismiss this phenomenon because these aren't academics talking in an academic framework to an academic audience, and thus somehow beneath concern (yes, Baylink, I think this squarely addresses your posts).

I think it is of some concern when the large base of nonacademic, untrained users assigns more weight and validity to a source like WP than is justified. Far more of influence is written by what might be loosely summarized as non-academics than by formal academics - and if these creators of pop influence are using faulty data, is the net effect on some large mass of readers any less than the smaller impact of a flaw within a formal framework?

Even that's not my real concern here, though. It's that writers, researchers, even "academics" who should know better are beginning to use WP as a source at a level it does not rate, blindly citing its contents and even secondary content like conclusions as if it came from a more validated source. It's this "validity creep" that really troubles me.

I don't think there's any point in further discussion of how academics do or don't or should or shouldn't see or use WP - we can close that argument as it's been closed several times, that we can assume the pros know better and those that don't will get their comeuppance in due time.

The concern is influential amateur use, and the evidence that even semi-pros are getting sloppy about their interpretation of WP, and that this problem is growing more widespread.


Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:44 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:27 pm
Posts: 56
Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia


Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:52 am
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PITA Bred
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 pm
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Location: The Quiet Earth
Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia


Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:08 am
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:27 pm
Posts: 56
Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia


Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:21 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:27 pm
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Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia


Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:58 pm
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PITA Bred
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 pm
Posts: 2402
Location: The Quiet Earth
Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
No, I don't have a solution to propose. (I don't subscribe to the theory of net pleasantness that says one must include a workable solution as part of any post decrying something.)

I think you've gone out of your way to selectively quote and interpret what I've said. I don't and have not "blamed Wikipedia" for anything. It's not any part of my criticism or viewpoint. I don't think the founders/movers/shakers have an unimpeachable rationale or viewpoint about their baby, but I don't "blame" them. It's a collective problem (and would need a collective solution).

On the other hand, rereading all your posts in light of you being a "six year Wikipedian" changes their interpretation quite a bit, IMHO. They start to sound a lot like the howling of tender toes.

I've really said all I have to say in this thread and really don't wish to devolve to me said/ye said hashing. I retain deep reservations about WP and all it represents, and those representing it, and the growing number who misrepresent and misuse it. If you want to take away that it's some personal problem of mine, I'm happy to leave it at that.


Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:33 pm
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:27 pm
Posts: 56
Post Re: Whinging about Wikipedia
I don't edit enough to be talking it personally, I don't think, no.

And since the thread is titled what it is, complaining without suggesting a solution is perfectly acceptable.

So, certainly, nolo contendere.


Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:23 am
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