Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

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Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

David Gerard-2
http://blog.k1v1n.com/2009/08/if-tree-falls-in-forest-part-1.html

He thinks that experts have a moral obligation to contribute to
Wikipedia, because it's the source people actually go to.

(I added a comment that experts without patience for Wikipedia's little
ways can contribute by adding a note and refs to a talk page, they
don't have to dive into the joys of being a Wikipedian.)


- d.

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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

Marc Riddell
on 8/2/09 12:26 PM, David Gerard at [hidden email] wrote:

> http://blog.k1v1n.com/2009/08/if-tree-falls-in-forest-part-1.html
>
> He thinks that experts have a moral obligation to contribute to
> Wikipedia, because it's the source people actually go to.

The "moral obligation" is in ensuring the accuracy of the material.
>
> (I added a comment that experts without patience for Wikipedia's little
> ways can contribute by adding a note and refs to a talk page, they
> don't have to dive into the joys of being a Wikipedian.)
>
"Wikipedia's little ways"? Whatever that means.

And, for some of us, the joy is in the diving in. And the deeper the pool
the better :-).

Marc Riddell


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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

Ian Woollard
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 02/08/2009, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> http://blog.k1v1n.com/2009/08/if-tree-falls-in-forest-part-1.html
>
> He thinks that experts have a moral obligation to contribute to
> Wikipedia, because it's the source people actually go to.

Dunno about that. I do know that an expert can be defined as somebody
who has forgotten how he found out what he knows, and I also know that
I have a moral obligation to stick {{cn}} next to what they (or
anybody else) write like that, and that they will doubtless find this
irritating...

ergo, I have a moral obligation to annoy any experts I find in the
wikipedia. ;-)

> - d.

--
-Ian Woollard

"All the world's a stage... but you'll grow out of it eventually."

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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
David Gerard wrote:
> http://blog.k1v1n.com/2009/08/if-tree-falls-in-forest-part-1.html
>
> He thinks that experts have a moral obligation to contribute to
> Wikipedia, because it's the source people actually go to.
>  
So first you need to show that there is an obligation to do anything
[[pro bono publico]] if you are an expert. (OK, declaring that you are
doing something pro bono helps shore up a reputation as an expert, but
that is not quite what we are discussing.) Then you need to prove that
the effectiveness of what you so do should be measured in the sort of
"mass media" terms implied here: discrimination about whom you inform is
pretty much irrelevant. Then you need to show everyone uses Google and
never gets down to the bottom of the first page. (These do seem to be
getting easier.)

How about the simpler comment that if you have expertise in an area of
public interest, you should consider writing something freely licensed
and putting it on the Web where someone can find it and help aggregate
it? Those who compile WP tend to have more sophisticated search habits
than putting a single keyword into Google and hoping for the best.
(Someone please reassure me that this is true ...)

Charles





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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

Carcharoth
On Sun, Aug 2, 2009 at 8:14 PM, Charles
Matthews<[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>

> How about the simpler comment that if you have expertise in an area of
> public interest, you should consider writing something freely licensed
> and putting it on the Web where someone can find it and help aggregate
> it? Those who compile WP tend to have more sophisticated search habits
> than putting a single keyword into Google and hoping for the best.
> (Someone please reassure me that this is true ...)

I'd agree with this. Publishing a reliable source and making it widely
and freely accessible can be better that contributing to Wikipedia.
Especially if you are the sort of expert that doesn't have the time
and patience for Wikipedia. But equally we have an obligation to make
sure that the trolls and POV pushers don't mess things up or distort
what is being said in the article that is being supported by said
reliable source.

As for searching. It depends what databases and resources you have
access too. I frequently come up against paywalls. There are only so
many times you can look around for a different source, or ask someone
else (who has access) for a copy.

I have something else I want to say about lists and redlinks, but I'll
do that in another thread.

Carcharoth

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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

metasj
Do experts have an obligation?  No.  Educators and those whose goal is
to improve the world's knowledge, yes.  And everyone has a motivation
to contribute driven by public interest, but not everyone recognizes
it.

On Sun, Aug 2, 2009 at 3:44 PM, Carcharoth<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sun, Aug 2, 2009 at 8:14 PM, Charles
> Matthews<[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> How about the simpler comment that if you have expertise in an area of
>> public interest, you should consider writing something freely licensed
>> and putting it on the Web where someone can find it and help aggregate
>
> I'd agree with this. Publishing a reliable source and making it widely
> and freely accessible can be better that contributing to Wikipedia.
> Especially if you are the sort of expert that doesn't have the time
> and patience for Wikipedia. But equally we have an obligation to make
> sure that the trolls and POV pushers don't mess things up or distort

Agreed.  Publishing and promoting standards for how to 'announce'
anew publication to Wikipedians, without needing to learn how to edit
a talk page, would be a great start -- something like pingback for all
major mechanisms people use to publish their works online.


To the comment that Wikipedians adding {{cn}} everywhere annoys
experts : this is something we have an obligation to fix.  The request
for a citation is a way of making offered expertise more valuable, not
a way of challenging people for thinking they know something useful to
others.    We should make the process of getting cites friendly and
rewarding, not annoying and combative.

-Sj

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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

WJhonson
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
As a Randian I would have to say that no, I have no moral obligation to  
give up my effort for any compensation other than that compensation which I  
declare as my due.
 
This is not to say that Ayn Rand would not contribute, only that the  
compensation of such contribution must be that which she would request, not that  
which the community would offer.  When these two are the same, than an  
expert would have no problem with contributing.
 
You are not required to sacrifice your work for the greater good.  The  
greater good is better served when you achieve a heroic effort within your own  
desired framework.  Not that framework imposed by others.  Brilliance  is
never achieved by committee.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

Amory Meltzer
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
Only as much as off-duty doctors, lifeguards, EMTs, etc. have to
attempt to save someone's life.  Good-samaritan laws exist for a
reason.

~A



On Sun, Aug 2, 2009 at 12:26, David Gerard<[hidden email]> wrote:

> http://blog.k1v1n.com/2009/08/if-tree-falls-in-forest-part-1.html
>
> He thinks that experts have a moral obligation to contribute to
> Wikipedia, because it's the source people actually go to.
>
> (I added a comment that experts without patience for Wikipedia's little
> ways can contribute by adding a note and refs to a talk page, they
> don't have to dive into the joys of being a Wikipedian.)
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>

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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

Luna-4
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Sun, Aug 2, 2009 at 9:26 AM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> http://blog.k1v1n.com/2009/08/if-tree-falls-in-forest-part-1.html
>
> He thinks that experts have a moral obligation to contribute to
> Wikipedia, because it's the source people actually go to.
>

I don't think I'd ever go chiding someone over it, but he brings up a solid
point: if you hope to be heard, you need to speak in such a way that people
will listen -- this may sometimes include speaking *where* people will
listen.

As Charles mentioned, though, experts do quite a lot for us, just by
producing those reliable sources we so direly need.

-Luna
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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

WJhonson
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
But who is heard when people read a Wikipedia article?  *An expert* is  not
heard, that is, no particular expert is heard, because we have no  
attribution.  Cited sources are heard, where sources are cited, for a  particular
sentence.  But even then we get citation creep when those  sentences are not
enquoted.  That is, people will modify or hitch a ride on  a sentence with
additional quips not found in the underlying source.
 
So in our Marilyn Monroe article we *had* cited a source claiming that her  
father's country of origin was cited as Norway on her birth certificate.  
Which is a claim with no evidence.  And the source cited, did not state  
this either.  Someone had hitched that "Norway" onto a sentence which had  
simply read that her father's name was Mortenson on her birth cert.  A  casual
reader cannot disentangle these overlying changes, but may assume this is  
the voice of the cited expert.  I fail to see how when reading any of our  
articles, a person is actually reading the words of any particular expert.
 
In a *relatively few* articles sources are cited and the actual extracted  
sentence is enquoted.  Those I find the most useful, as you can be fairly  
sure the source actually states what the quoted sentence states, without  
repeating the look-up.
 
Will Johnson
 
 
 
In a message dated 8/2/2009 9:24:53 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
[hidden email] writes:

I don't  think I'd ever go chiding someone over it, but he brings up a solid
point:  if you hope to be heard, you need to speak in such a way that people
will  listen -- this may sometimes include speaking *where* people  will
listen.

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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

Ben Kovitz
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
Charles Matthews wrote:

> How about the simpler comment that if you have expertise in an area of
> public interest, you should consider writing something freely licensed
> and putting it on the Web where someone can find it and help aggregate
> it?

This is a really good point.

Subject-matter expertise is one thing.

Skill with writing is another.

Skill with editing Wikipedia is yet another.

Wikipedia-editing is pretty far removed from subject-matter  
expertise.  It's more about searching and summarizing and  
collaborating.  It's closer to being a librarian than any other  
occupation.  Saying, "Subject-matter experts are morally obliged to  
edit Wikipedia" is not too far from saying, "Subject-matter experts  
are morally obliged to volunteer at library help-desks."

Ben



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Re: Do experts have a moral obligation to contribute to Wikipedia?

Steve Bennett-8
On Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 3:10 PM, Ben Kovitz<[hidden email]> wrote:
> Wikipedia-editing is pretty far removed from subject-matter
> expertise.  It's more about searching and summarizing and
> collaborating.  It's closer to being a librarian than any other
> occupation.

Librarian? Nah. There are lots of consultants in many fields whose
work consists of researching then writing a report. They use their
expertise to help them find the information related to a specific
query, then formulate a report. *That* is much like Wikipedia.

Steve

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