Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

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Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

Peter Damian
Gerard writes: >>The trouble is that attempts to make something that lures experts but
keeps idiots out of their faces have so far failed and/or attracted no
attention, even from the experts (Citizendium, Scholarpedia). That is,
they sound like a good idea; but in practice, Wikipedia has so far
been the least worst system.

True.  But is there not some way of making Wikipedia just a little more attractive
to people who have studied the subject?  I used to propose things like credentials
based on trust earned on Wikipedia (which would require getting trust from other
trusted editors, much like in financial markets).  These all naturally got shot down,
and silly of me to have tried.  But is there not some way of just making it a little
easier?

The problem is that until someone sits up and notices the serious errors that
are propagated through Wikipedia (and which are now becoming part of the
folk wisdom of the internet), no one will be bothered. The problem is that no one
*knows* there are problems, and so no one can be bothered. I've started documenting
the problem in a small way, e.g. here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/william-of-ockham.html 
and here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/avicennian-logic.html , but this is only
in my own area of expertise.

What is the very smallest thing that could be done, I wonder?

Peter

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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

Yaroslav M. Blanter

On Sun, 29 Aug 2010 15:38:34 +0100, "Peter Damian"
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> The problem is that until someone sits up and notices the serious errors
> that
> are propagated through Wikipedia (and which are now becoming part of the

> folk wisdom of the internet), no one will be bothered. The problem is
that

> no one
> *knows* there are problems, and so no one can be bothered. I've started
> documenting
> the problem in a small way, e.g. here
> http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/william-of-ockham.html 
> and here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/avicennian-logic.html , but
> this is only
> in my own area of expertise.
>
> What is the very smallest thing that could be done, I wonder?
>
> Peter
>

These issues have been discussed at length at the Strategy wiki and made
to the five-how year strategic plan. The question is how they would be
implemented now. But it is not really correct that nobody bothers.

Cheers
Yaroslav

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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Peter Damian
On 29 August 2010 15:38, Peter Damian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The problem is that until someone sits up and notices the serious errors that
> are propagated through Wikipedia (and which are now becoming part of the
> folk wisdom of the internet), no one will be bothered. The problem is that no one
> *knows* there are problems, and so no one can be bothered. I've started documenting
> the problem in a small way, e.g. here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/william-of-ockham.html
> and here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/avicennian-logic.html , but this is only
> in my own area of expertise.
> What is the very smallest thing that could be done, I wonder?


Probably just documenting problems, as you note.

It is helpful that on Wikipedia the editorial process is largely
transparent, so the question "how did it get like this?" can actually
be answered. Wikipedia is not reliable, but it turns out that how
paper encyclopedias and newspapers were written was similarly
susceptible - with Wikipedia we can see inside the sausage factory
rather than pretending that the mass media is a happy unicorn-filled
fairyland of scrupulous fact-checking and expert supervision.


- d.

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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Yaroslav M. Blanter
On 29 August 2010 16:45, Yaroslav M. Blanter <[hidden email]> wrote:

> These issues have been discussed at length at the Strategy wiki and made
> to the five-how year strategic plan. The question is how they would be
> implemented now. But it is not really correct that nobody bothers.


Awareness of our systemic problems - the ones that are deeply part of
our structure - on the part of the editors on the ground is probably
the best thing that springs to mind. I suspect there is no complete
solution while humans are imperfect, but we can keep trying. NPOV is a
journey. Etc.


- d.

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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals withcontent issues.

Peter Damian
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
> It is helpful that on Wikipedia the editorial process is largely
> transparent, so the question "how did it get like this?" can actually
> be answered. Wikipedia is not reliable, but it turns out that how
> paper encyclopedias and newspapers were written was similarly
> susceptible

In the case of newspapers probably yes.  In the case of encyclopedias,
I think not.   There are severe problems with the Wikipedia coverage of
philosophy which you wouldn't find here, for instance.  And so for the
humanities generally. When I make this point on Wikipedia, the answer is
usually that Wikipedia is for pop culture, whereas encyclopedias are for
'proper culture' or 'high culture' or whatever.  I don't really understand
this
distinction.

Meanwhile, a quick test for line wrap. asdf asdf asdf sadf sadf  asdf asdf
asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf
asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf
asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf
asdf sadf sadf asdf asdf asdf sadf sadf

Peter


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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

David Moran-3
In reply to this post by Peter Damian
*The problem is that until someone sits up and notices the serious errors
that
are propagated through Wikipedia (and which are now becoming part of the
folk wisdom of the internet), no one will be bothered.
*
I think my problem with suggestions like this is that the assumption at the
heart of all of them--that "experts" with degrees are preferable as
information authorities to nonexperts without--is deeply problematic, and
I'm not convinced it won't create more problems than it solves.  I am not
myself an academic, but I've worked in an academic setting for over a decade
(I'm in college textbooks), and I work closely with college faculty and ...
quite frankly the number of them I would trust to edit an article I wanted
to read is very small.

Academic qualifications generally just mean you stayed in school long enough
to get them, and little else.  I'm not trying to spout anti-intellectual
nonsense, I'm just saying that academia churns out an awful lot of people
with degrees every year, a really astonishing number actually, and an awful
lot of those people are no more deserving of the term "expert" than the guy
driving the 2 train that took me to work this morning, or the girl who
served me coffee at Dunkin' Donuts.  I'm worried we'd give the imprimatur of
extra scholarly specialness to the edits of a bunch of people who honestly
would not deserve it.

I don't really see this as a problem with Wikipedia anyway.  Wikipedia's
detractors do, but that's generally because they object to the mission in
general, and its democratic nature in particular.  Here we value the quality
of the work, not the letters on a piece of paper obtained in exchange for
$100,000 in tuition.

FMF



On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 10:38 AM, Peter Damian
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> Gerard writes: >>The trouble is that attempts to make something that lures
> experts but
> keeps idiots out of their faces have so far failed and/or attracted no
> attention, even from the experts (Citizendium, Scholarpedia). That is,
> they sound like a good idea; but in practice, Wikipedia has so far
> been the least worst system.
>
> True.  But is there not some way of making Wikipedia just a little more
> attractive
> to people who have studied the subject?  I used to propose things like
> credentials
> based on trust earned on Wikipedia (which would require getting trust from
> other
> trusted editors, much like in financial markets).  These all naturally got
> shot down,
> and silly of me to have tried.  But is there not some way of just making it
> a little
> easier?
>
> The problem is that until someone sits up and notices the serious errors
> that
> are propagated through Wikipedia (and which are now becoming part of the
> folk wisdom of the internet), no one will be bothered. The problem is that
> no one
> *knows* there are problems, and so no one can be bothered. I've started
> documenting
> the problem in a small way, e.g. here
> http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/william-of-ockham.html
> and here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/avicennian-logic.html , but
> this is only
> in my own area of expertise.
>
> What is the very smallest thing that could be done, I wonder?
>
> Peter
>
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> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals withcontent issues.

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Peter Damian
On 29 August 2010 17:18, Peter Damian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> In the case of newspapers probably yes.  In the case of encyclopedias,
> I think not.   There are severe problems with the Wikipedia coverage of
> philosophy which you wouldn't find here, for instance.  And so for the
> humanities generally. When I make this point on Wikipedia, the answer is
> usually that Wikipedia is for pop culture, whereas encyclopedias are for
> 'proper culture' or 'high culture' or whatever.  I don't really understand
> this
> distinction.


The answer is probably that we're not finished yet and need more
participation from people interested in writing encyclopedically in
the area.

Basically, the answer is interested contributors bothering to put in
the effort, same as any other area. Hard work over the course of
years, as usual.

There are things that could be done. Professors who set students to
editing can help the content along very nicely. Getting the Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy released under CC by-sa would increase the
quality of the world's phiosophy knowledge nicely (it's not like it's
a commercial website).

Think of our successful areas and why they are successful. Our hard
science articles are generally excellent, and sometimes almost
readable by humans. Why are they good? Why did people with the
requisite knowledge bother writing stuff up? How can we duplicate this
in other lacking areas?


- d.

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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by David Moran-3
On 29 August 2010 17:19, David Moran <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I think my problem with suggestions like this is that the assumption at the
> heart of all of them--that "experts" with degrees are preferable as
> information authorities to nonexperts without--is deeply problematic, and
> I'm not convinced it won't create more problems than it solves.  I am not
> myself an academic, but I've worked in an academic setting for over a decade
> (I'm in college textbooks), and I work closely with college faculty and ...
> quite frankly the number of them I would trust to edit an article I wanted
> to read is very small.
> Academic qualifications generally just mean you stayed in school long enough
> to get them, and little else.  I'm not trying to spout anti-intellectual
> nonsense, I'm just saying that academia churns out an awful lot of people
> with degrees every year, a really astonishing number actually, and an awful
> lot of those people are no more deserving of the term "expert" than the guy
> driving the 2 train that took me to work this morning, or the girl who
> served me coffee at Dunkin' Donuts.  I'm worried we'd give the imprimatur of
> extra scholarly specialness to the edits of a bunch of people who honestly
> would not deserve it.


Take care not to conflate expertise with credentials. At best,
credentials are a shortcut to finding an expert; at worst, they're a
union card that people without workable expertise use to get a job
anyway.

Clay Shirky noted this important distinction:

http://many.corante.com/archives/2006/11/20/social_facts_expertise_citizendium_and_carr.php

In practice, academics who are really interested in their field will
happily listen to the uncredentialed on their topic, even if only for
a moment, just in case they have something interesting to say.
Academics who are not all that good will be very credentialist.
Cranks, having no accepted expertise, will attach especial store to
what credentials they can scrape up. This, btw, is how Citizendium
became a pseudoscience haven:

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Citizendium#The_concept_of_expertise_on_Citizendium


- d.

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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

David Moran-3
Well, right.  That's kind of what I mean.  These things happened to
Citizendium because credentialism is the natural outcome of trying to create
a system of valuing a certain class of contributors more than others.

DM


On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 12:35 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 29 August 2010 17:19, David Moran <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > I think my problem with suggestions like this is that the assumption at
> the
> > heart of all of them--that "experts" with degrees are preferable as
> > information authorities to nonexperts without--is deeply problematic, and
> > I'm not convinced it won't create more problems than it solves.  I am not
> > myself an academic, but I've worked in an academic setting for over a
> decade
> > (I'm in college textbooks), and I work closely with college faculty and
> ...
> > quite frankly the number of them I would trust to edit an article I
> wanted
> > to read is very small.
> > Academic qualifications generally just mean you stayed in school long
> enough
> > to get them, and little else.  I'm not trying to spout anti-intellectual
> > nonsense, I'm just saying that academia churns out an awful lot of people
> > with degrees every year, a really astonishing number actually, and an
> awful
> > lot of those people are no more deserving of the term "expert" than the
> guy
> > driving the 2 train that took me to work this morning, or the girl who
> > served me coffee at Dunkin' Donuts.  I'm worried we'd give the imprimatur
> of
> > extra scholarly specialness to the edits of a bunch of people who
> honestly
> > would not deserve it.
>
>
> Take care not to conflate expertise with credentials. At best,
> credentials are a shortcut to finding an expert; at worst, they're a
> union card that people without workable expertise use to get a job
> anyway.
>
> Clay Shirky noted this important distinction:
>
>
> http://many.corante.com/archives/2006/11/20/social_facts_expertise_citizendium_and_carr.php
>
> In practice, academics who are really interested in their field will
> happily listen to the uncredentialed on their topic, even if only for
> a moment, just in case they have something interesting to say.
> Academics who are not all that good will be very credentialist.
> Cranks, having no accepted expertise, will attach especial store to
> what credentials they can scrape up. This, btw, is how Citizendium
> became a pseudoscience haven:
>
>
> http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Citizendium#The_concept_of_expertise_on_Citizendium
>
>
> - d.
>
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

David Gerard-2
On 29 August 2010 17:52, David Moran <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Well, right.  That's kind of what I mean.  These things happened to
> Citizendium because credentialism is the natural outcome of trying to create
> a system of valuing a certain class of contributors more than others.


I was amazed just how actively negative credentialism could be -
Shirky posited it as merely putting a dead weight on the project, not
actually driving it backwards. Did anyone actually predict it would
result in CZ becoming a crank magnet?

If anyone wanted to advocate credentialism on Wikimedia projects,
they'd first have to work out how to fix the pseudoscience problem on
CZ.


- d.

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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

???
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On 29/08/2010 16:46, David Gerard wrote:

> On 29 August 2010 15:38, Peter Damian<[hidden email]>  wrote:
>
>> The problem is that until someone sits up and notices the serious errors that
>> are propagated through Wikipedia (and which are now becoming part of the
>> folk wisdom of the internet), no one will be bothered. The problem is that no one
>> *knows* there are problems, and so no one can be bothered. I've started documenting
>> the problem in a small way, e.g. here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/william-of-ockham.html
>> and here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/avicennian-logic.html , but this is only
>> in my own area of expertise.
>> What is the very smallest thing that could be done, I wonder?
>
>
> Probably just documenting problems, as you note.
>
> It is helpful that on Wikipedia the editorial process is largely
> transparent, so the question "how did it get like this?" can actually
> be answered. Wikipedia is not reliable, but it turns out that how
> paper encyclopedias and newspapers were written was similarly
> susceptible - with Wikipedia we can see inside the sausage factory
> rather than pretending that the mass media is a happy unicorn-filled
> fairyland of scrupulous fact-checking and expert supervision.
>

I've mentioned before that this was wrong for almost 2 years, and it
went through various edits and reformatting over that time:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Non-uniform_rational_B-spline&action=historysubmit&diff=124576209&oldid=18078134

I got three of my coleagues with Phd's in maths to look at it
independently and all three said something to the effect of "I'm going
to pretend I've never read that because otherwise I'll have to correct
it and I'm not prepared to spend the evening argue the toss with a
teenager." and they weren't alone, because other geometric modelers had
drawn my attention to it in the first place.

Now whether they would have had to or not isn't the point. The point was
that all had experience onwiki aguements, and all had independently
decided that they're time was better spent in ways other than agueing
with a wikieditor.

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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals withcontent issues.

Peter Damian
In reply to this post by David Moran-3
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Moran" <[hidden email]>
To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <[hidden email]>
Sent: Sunday, August 29, 2010 5:19 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Organization on Wikipedia that deals withcontent
issues.

>>I don't really see this as a problem with Wikipedia anyway.

Do you mean the problem of experts being generally discouraged?  I was
talking about the problem of there being serious errors in articles,
particularly in the humanities.  I agree with David that when it comes to
facts and figures, Wikipedia is pretty good. For many of the hard sciences,
also good.  But it's a disaster zone in the humanities. That's the problem I
am referring to.

On credentials, I agree, but I wasn't talking about credentials.  I was
talking about people with a reasonably good knowledge of their subject.  In
philosophy, all the editors who have made good contributions have some
background in the subject.  I was emailed by one today, complaining how it
was descending into complete chaos.  I told her not to bother and just to
step back from the whole thing.  Then the problems would become more obvious
and perhaps people would be motivated to improve the way the system works.

>>I've mentioned before that this was wrong for almost 2 years, and it
went through various edits and reformatting over that time:

yes I documented a similar problem here

http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/08/argumentum-ad-baculum.html

which still haven't been fixed.

>>all three said something to the effect of "I'm going
to pretend I've never read that because otherwise I'll have to correct
it and I'm not prepared to spend the evening argue the toss with a
teenager.

Quite. How does Wikipedia improve its rules, or governance, or software to
resolve the current problems with the *articles*?


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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by ???
On 29 August 2010 18:16,  <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Now whether they would have had to or not isn't the point. The point was
> that all had experience onwiki aguements, and all had independently
> decided that they're time was better spent in ways other than agueing
> with a wikieditor.


Yes: the problem with keeping idiots out of experts' faces.
Unfortunately, credentialism doesn't work. Embarrassing Wikipedia in
blog posts seems to work, one factoid at a time


- d.

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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals withcontentissues.

Peter Damian
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Gerard" <[hidden email]>
> The answer is probably that we're not finished yet and need more
> participation from people interested in writing encyclopedically in
> the area.

> Basically, the answer is interested contributors bothering to put in
> the effort, same as any other area. Hard work over the course of
> years, as usual.

I would have bought the 'not finished yet' argument 5 years ago.  Perhaps
even 3 years ago.  But now?  Every article in my area of expertise has
stagnated.  The only changes are vandalism followed by reverts from
administrators who sometimes don't understand what they are reverting to,
and who let other sorts of vandalism creep in.  My benchmark is this article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence

which I rewrote 3 years ago and has since degenerated into a mess.  See e.g.
the 'Dharmic Middle way view' section towards the end which is incoherent
and strange, immediately followed by the 'formal languages' section which
clearly belongs in another article.  You really need people with some sense
of the subject to edit an article like this.  Perhaps credentials are not
the answer.  All I am saying is that there is a serious and growing problem
and that someone needs to recognise it for what it is.

Peter


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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals withcontent issues.

Peter Damian
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
> Unfortunately, credentialism doesn't work.

And I wasn't suggesting it would.

>> Embarrassing Wikipedia in blog posts seems to work, one factoid at a time

Well I hope so.  However when I wrote this

http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/william-of-ockham.html

The only correction was to remove the plagiarised material and one eccentric
section and slap a template on the article.  And that was only because I
personally knew the guy who made the correction.  And the problem I noted in
the post here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/07/truth-versus-equality.html 
'the puppet Turkish administration' is still there.  I expect someone from
here will fix it now.  But as someone else noted, it's like when a
politician publicly helps a needy family for the sake of the newspapers,
leaving millions of other needy families in a needy state.  That's how I
feel about fixing Wikipedia entries.


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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals withcontent issues.

Excirial
*I would have bought the 'not finished yet' argument 5 years ago.  Perhaps
even 3 years ago.  But now?  Every article in my area of expertise has
stagnated.* <SNIP> *All I am saying is that there is a serious and growing
problem and that someone needs to recognise it for what it is.*

The problem you mention is actually the stagnation of edits. Any article
that has some common public interest will be read and corrected by many
people, which will generally be good for its quality. Sure, more interested
people will equally mean a larger share of vandals and nonsensical edits,
but a fairly small group of productive editors can keep a much larger group
of vandals at bay without to much effort; Huggle is a proof of concept for
this, since only a handful of editors are required to keep out most of the
obvious vandalism.

However, in cases where an article stagnates lower quality edits may go
unnoticed for a longer time. Take our article's on faily unimportant
secondary schools for example - most people interested in these article's
are students and teachers of that institution, which means that the quality
of the edits is likely to be fairly low (Students add themselves or attack
the school, while teachers try to promote the school). Hence, the existence
article was edited about 500 times in 3 years, which means that fairly
little people are correcting changes or adding content. As a result it is
more prone to degeneration then an article that is edited several thousands
of times. More attention is better - even an edit war can be a good thing in
this context, since both sides of the issue will try as hard as possible to
keep their prefered version, eventually balancing the article into a version
which adheres admirably to a neutral point of view.

*But as someone else noted, it's like when a politician publicly helps a
needy family for the sake of the newspapers, leaving millions of other needy
families in a needy state.  That's how I feel about fixing Wikipedia
entries.*

That is of course one way to view it - but i would argue that the politician
example (hopefully) isn't accurate as it would suggest that people only edit
in case they receive a personal benefit. Personally i hope that most people
edit and improve for less selfish reasons. Or to phrase it as another
comparison: A singular brick cannot build a house, and as of such people may
deem carrying one futile, since would have to carry many times many bricks
in order to build anything useful (Let alone fight decay). Yet if thousands
of people carrying a single brick they can build a castle. There are many
problems in the world, but is the amount a reason to say that fixing one of
them is futile, just because there are many others?

~Excirial.

On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 7:42 PM, Peter Damian
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> > Unfortunately, credentialism doesn't work.
>
> And I wasn't suggesting it would.
>
> >> Embarrassing Wikipedia in blog posts seems to work, one factoid at a
> time
>
> Well I hope so.  However when I wrote this
>
> http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/william-of-ockham.html
>
> The only correction was to remove the plagiarised material and one
> eccentric
> section and slap a template on the article.  And that was only because I
> personally knew the guy who made the correction.  And the problem I noted
> in
> the post here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/07/truth-versus-equality.html
> 'the puppet Turkish administration' is still there.  I expect someone from
> here will fix it now.  But as someone else noted, it's like when a
> politician publicly helps a needy family for the sake of the newspapers,
> leaving millions of other needy families in a needy state.  That's how I
> feel about fixing Wikipedia entries.
>
>
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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals with content issues.

Fred Bauder-2
In reply to this post by Peter Damian
We need to set up a regular mechanism which analyzes and searches for
errors. Please see
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Error_management

We need to make a science of it, Wikipedia:Error_management

Fred

> Gerard writes: >>The trouble is that attempts to make something that
> lures experts but
> keeps idiots out of their faces have so far failed and/or attracted no
> attention, even from the experts (Citizendium, Scholarpedia). That is,
> they sound like a good idea; but in practice, Wikipedia has so far
> been the least worst system.
>
> True.  But is there not some way of making Wikipedia just a little more
> attractive
> to people who have studied the subject?  I used to propose things like
> credentials
> based on trust earned on Wikipedia (which would require getting trust
> from other
> trusted editors, much like in financial markets).  These all naturally
> got shot down,
> and silly of me to have tried.  But is there not some way of just making
> it a little
> easier?
>
> The problem is that until someone sits up and notices the serious errors
> that
> are propagated through Wikipedia (and which are now becoming part of the
> folk wisdom of the internet), no one will be bothered. The problem is
> that no one
> *knows* there are problems, and so no one can be bothered. I've started
> documenting
> the problem in a small way, e.g. here
> http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/william-of-ockham.html
> and here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/avicennian-logic.html , but
> this is only
> in my own area of expertise.
>
> What is the very smallest thing that could be done, I wonder?
>
> Peter
>
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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals withcontent issues.

Mark
In reply to this post by Peter Damian
On 08/29/2010 10:25 AM, Peter Damian wrote:
>
> Do you mean the problem of experts being generally discouraged?  I was
> talking about the problem of there being serious errors in articles,
> particularly in the humanities.  I agree with David that when it comes to
> facts and figures, Wikipedia is pretty good. For many of the hard sciences,
> also good.  But it's a disaster zone in the humanities. That's the problem I
> am referring to.
>    

Purely my personal take, but I've noticed problems on both the expert
and non-expert sides in the humanities more than in science-related
articles. On the one hand, people seem to more naturally understand that
they need good sources in science, that a newspaper article needs to be
used carefully (and weighted relative to better sources), etc. People
don't always seem to sufficiently realize that, say, philosophy or
sociology should also be treated similarly.

On the other hand, though, I've noticed science and especially math
experts to be generally more friendly in working with non-experts,
though there are plenty of exceptions. I've *very* rarely seen a math
professor resort to credentialism or looking down on inexpert
contributors, even though we have some very well-credentialed
mathematicians. Some have nearly saintly patience in explaining their
edits and why the article should be changed in the manner they propose.
But I've noticed depressingly many "ugh, as a PhD in [thing], I can't
believe I have to argue with these idiots" elitist huffs from humanities
professors and grad students.

-Mark


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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that deals withcontentissues.

Andrea Zanni-2
In reply to this post by Peter Damian
>
> [...]  All I am saying is that there is a serious and growing problem
> and that someone needs to recognise it for what it is.
>
As you did mention Eco's interview in another thread,
you have surely noted all the Q&A related to collaboration and "consensus"
in Humanities vs hard sciences.

It seems that Humanities are overall a problematic area for Wikipedia,
because less involved in consensus building, and much focused in the
stratification of different interpretations.
NPOV is probably not so fascinating or useful for humanisties, or at least
their inside culture/procedures/habits
does not involve collaboration as the Hard Science
culture/procedures/habits.
I believe that Wikipedia is touching a sensitive point here.

(I know that I used general and broad terms, but the interview is much more
clear.)

Aubrey
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Re: Organization on Wikipedia that dealswithcontentissues.

Peter Damian

From: "Andrea Zanni" <[hidden email]>


> It seems that Humanities are overall a problematic area for Wikipedia,
> because less involved in consensus building, and much focused in the
> stratification of different interpretations.

No quite untrue.  My background is analytic philosophy and I have worked on
many articles and have made friends with those working in the 'European'
tradition of philosophy. We settled our differences (indeed ignored our
differences from the beginning) and worked to defend philosophy articles
from the endless vandalism.  There was never any disagreement. But most of
them have given up by now.

From: "Excirial" <[hidden email]>
> The problem you mention is actually the stagnation of edits.

You snipped the bit where I talked about the benchmark article which is
gradually eroded into chaos.  Unless the articles are well looked after by
those that care and understand, they deteriorate and rot away. Do you
propose any solutions for this?  I'm interesting in solutions.


From: "Fred Bauder" <[hidden email]>
> We need to set up a regular mechanism which analyzes and searches for
> errors.

Well I'm working through articles and writing them up and reporting them
(I'm not correcting them, obviously).  But there are many thousands of
errors, and I am one person :(


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