[WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Thomas Dalton
> In theory: yes. In practice: would everyone recognize it as such? (Hint:
> it now has a {{unreferenced}} box, for those viewers that have not
> disabled them in their personal Monobook.css.)

Remove the {{unreferenced}} box and explain in the edit summary that
it's a list and the sources are on the individual articles.

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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by Steve Block-3


On Jan 25, 2007, at 9:42 AM, Steve Block wrote:

>
> In all honesty if that happens I will probably walk.  As someone who
> edits in an arena of pop culture, comics, I don't think I could  
> stand it
> if these crutches were taken away.  Comics have been published for  
> over
> 70 years and I would seriously have no other stick with which to beat
> the people who think Wikipedia can readily summarise the plot of every
> single character and adventure depicted.  Why does that matter?  
> People
> need to ponder how maintainable six billion articles on comics  
> would be.
>   Think I made that article up?  People quite reasonably believe the
> batarang deserves an article.  Extend that to Moon Knight's throwing
> arrows, which I could quite happily add an article on the basis of  
> West
> Coast Avengers #18-24 or thereabouts.  The best stick we've got at the
> moment to cut away at this is reliable sources.

No. That's a crappy stick, because quite frankly, West Coast Avengers  
#18-24 is a reliable source, and should remain a reliable source.  
(Because otherwise we get into a whole host of other problems.  
Primary source research like this is important.) The thing to tell  
someone who wants an article on Moon Knight's throwing arrows is "No,  
and stop being stupid." But we're doing a bad job of that, and so  
we've contorted our sourcing policies to try to cover this, which is  
a problem, because they do a very bad job of it.

> Now I know that there's
> a split in what Wikipedia is, and I know there are a lot of grey  
> areas.
>   I will defend any article I believe is well written regardless of
> source issues, and if there are such articles at afd please give me a
> call, but I will more readily defend the ideal Wikipedia was  
> founded on.
>   We need to focus on the general reader and focus on getting those
> books into the hands of those African kids that Jimmy often mentions.
> What value are those books going to be if they contain facts sourced
> from my webpage?  And if you abandon reliable sources and citing,  
> why on
> earth do you think we'll have quality articles?  How are you going  
> to do
> it.  Sorry, but I'm battling POV pushers on too many fronts to even
> entertain this idea humourously.

POV pushers are often insidiously good at sources - have a look at  
[[2004 U.S. Presidential election controversy]] for why sourcing  
doesn't really fix the problem (and if anything makes it worse  
because POV pushers can resort to "But it's sourced!")
>
> Actually, that's a flawed argument.  We don't know if they haven't
> prevented more examples like Siegenthaler.
>

Nonsense. Siegenthaler would have been fixed without recourse to  
sourcing had anybody looked at it. To try to solve a problem with a  
solution irrelevant to the problem is silly.
>

> Ugh, no.  People doubt the validity of?  What on earth is validity?
> Well, it's stuff that people of note have said, or, well it's stuff  
> that
> is of importance to the subject.  It's just more looseness, and  
> it's too
> loose.  Wikipedia either has to have standards or throw of the  
> pretence
> of being an encyclopedia and allow original research.  Hey, want your
> stuff in Wikipedia?  Chuck up a web page and then source it.  This
> applies to popular culture as much as it does any other field.  
> Want to
> posit the idea that reading comics makes you gay?  Chuck up a website
> and then cite it in Wikipedia.  Well no, don't even cite it, just  
> put it
> in and stick to your guns, because hey, it has validity.
>
You seem to be operating under the curious idea that [[WP:RS]] is the  
source of common sense and judgment in the world, and should it ever  
vanish everybody editing Wikipedia will become a dithering idiot. If  
someone puts a claim that reading comics makes you gay into  
[[comics]] we do not need any policy beyond "editors should exercise  
good judgment" to go "Ummm, that's an interesting claim you've got  
there, mate. I'm not so sure I believe it - you mind explaining where  
you're coming from?" And when the editor points to their website, we  
do not need a policy to say that they're being an idiot and that's  
not going in the encyclopedia. Policy is not the source of our  
ability to remove crap. Policy is an instruction manual for well-
meaning editors who don't really understand what we're doing. But  
[[WP:RS]] and [[WP:CITE]] don't work as that - they're dense,  
painfully confused texts that try to oversimplify sourcing and  
research, which are both very complex topics. And they enshrine  
rigidity where flexibility, discussion, common sense, and consensus  
are necessary.
>

> Okay, I realise here I'm going to get shot at, but it is my
> understanding that it is not enough for information to be  
> accurate.  It
> has to be relevant and it needs to be .  Wikipedia is simply too  
> big now
> to be built like it was in the old days.  America doesn't operate the
> way it did in the Wild West, Wikipedia can't operate the way it did  
> back
> then.  Enforce mob rule and then watch as we lose the battle to the  
> mob.
>   We're walking a tight line as it is, at the outer edges like
> Siegenthaler.  I'd hate to see the centre go.
>
One of the most common misconceptions and false attacks on Wikipedia  
has always been equating the consensus model with mob rule.
>

> Look, I agree that there are issues, but those issues aren't with the
> policies.  They are with the editors who can't seem to apply, what for
> better words I'll call common sense to the policies.  They can't  
> seem to
> grasp that there is a need to compromise, a need to facilitate other
> opinions and a need to deal.  They can't grasp the concept of
> collaboration, they can't grasp the idea that life is not black and
> white.  They can't see the future is reached by groping about in the
> dark as much as it is reached by walking clear lit corridors.  Too  
> many
> times an obvious decision is delayed due to one person in a far off
> field crying out "Process".  What we need is a way of enforcing the  
> idea
> that it is the spirit of the rules that are observed, not the words.
> Too many people are invested in the fight, not the book in the  
> hands of
> that African kid.
>

The solution is, in part, to get away from a system of rules and  
towards a system of principles. [[WP:V]] is a good page. [[WP:NOR]]  
is a good page. That's because they enshrine principles and goals.  
[[WP:RS]] and [[WP:CITE]] enshrine a hopeless bureaucracy that we can  
never hope to actually get working. If you want a model where people  
look at the goal instead of the method, you need policies that are  
principles and goals, not processes. [[WP:RS]] and [[WP:CITE]] are  
the ugly processes we wrote to try to support [[WP:V]] and  
[[WP:NOR]]. Cut out the process, leave the goal.

-Phil
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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by Bogdan Giusca


On Jan 25, 2007, at 11:58 AM, Bogdan Giusca wrote:

> Thursday, January 25, 2007, 6:25:38 PM, Ken wrote:
>
>> WP:CITE and WP:RS are unreasonably easy to abuse
>
> What you call "abuse", others call improval of the sourcing and
> of the verifiability, and of therefore the credibility of Wikipedia.
>
> From my experience on Wikipedia, almost all the criticism on the
> Reliable Sources requirements comes from people who edit mostly
> articles on anime, webcomics, furry subculture, internet memes
> and the like.
>

This just isn't true. There are plenty of reliable sources issues to  
be found about academic topics, particularly in the humanities. For  
example, it is mind-wrenchingly difficult to write a sourced article  
about [[Jacques Derrida]]. Why? Because one either has to frame his  
thought in terms of mediocre primers on his work like _Derrida for  
Beginners_, or one has to try to use the academic debate surrounding  
Derrida, in which case all of one's sources are aimed at an expert  
audience and there's no good foothold to explain the basics of  
Derrida's thought. Furthermore, one is left in a position where  
clueless political attacks on Derrida get disproportionate time,  
because lots of people can understand Ann Coulter and thus can add  
citations to her, but a lot fewer people can understand Julian  
Wolfreys and add citations to him.

There's not a good solution to this from within a source-paranoid  
culture, because the way to write a decent article on Derrida is to  
have three or four people who work with Derridean thought write it  
up, bash out compromises on wording among themselves, write brief  
bits that explain major debates about Derrida's thought where they  
can't agree on a generally applicable way of presenting something,  
and then to have a references section that points to some major work  
on Derrida. And if someone comes along and says "Dude, this article  
is crap. Here's a bunch of citations that show that this article  
totally misrepresents Derrida," we work from there.

But there is no good way to write an article on Jacques Derrida that  
is both a good introduction for a layperson and sourced at every turn.

I'd be similarly shocked if one could write a good article on high  
temperature physics or group theory while being totally dependent on  
published reliable sources, because those sources were never written  
for the purpose of being used to explain the concept to novices.
> Those areas are not the core of an encyclopedia and protecting those
> areas should should not result in the compromising the rest of
> Wikipedia.
>
> We can't have two sets of rules: one for cruft and one for the rest.

Nobody is proposing two sets of rules. What people have frequently  
proposed is that the rule should be "everything must be sourced to  
the recognized standards of reliability for that subject," and  
understanding that the standards are somewhat less rigorous in  
popular culture.

I'll also note that, contrary to popular rhetoric, [[WP:RS]] does  
very little to help fix pokecruft, because nobody can make a serious  
argument that Pokemon episodes are not reliable sources for  
information about what happens in Pokemon episodes. (At least not one  
that has ever gained any traction, and thank God for that, because  
it's a damn silly argument that has nothing to do with reliability  
and everything to do with frantically trying to build an idiot-proof  
wall against pokecruft by any means necessary, without regard for  
whether the wall makes sense.)

In fact, I suspect we'd have an easier time getting historical out-of-
universe information if we let people who knew stuff about the  
history of Pokemon write articles without demanding they go back and  
figure out where exactly they read every single fact they're trying  
to include.

Put another way, the demand that every piece of information has a  
source means that we get a preponderance of information that's low-
hanging fruit - that is, information that is easily found online and  
easily understood by anybody. That does not coincide well with  
information that is good.

Again, this is essentially a design problem. [[WP:RS]] and  
[[WP:CITE]] fail to consider that they need to be implemented by  
casual volunteers who are working out of good will. They'd be great  
policy if Wikipedia were written by paid experts and people who  
devote huge amounts of time to the project. (Which is who they were  
written by) But they're crap for someone who finds a problem on a  
page they're looking at and wants to fix it. Which is the vast  
majority of our editors.

This is the key problem. [[WP:RS]] and [[WP:CITE]] were not written  
with our actual userbase in mind. They are useful only to people like  
us - that is, people who are obsessed enough with Wikipedia to join a  
mailing list for discussion of it. That's not most of our editors.

Here's what we need. Picture Susan. Susan is a 40-year-old stay at  
home mother who majored in English, and still has a fondness for Jane  
Austen. Susan, one day, is browsing the Internet and reads our  
article on [[Pride and Prejudice]]. She sees an error. In five  
minutes, her kid is getting off the school bus.

We need a policy that lets Susan fix the problem and then go meet her  
kid at the bus without having her change reverted.

-Phil
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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Robth
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
On 1/25/07, Phil Sandifer <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> On Jan 25, 2007, at 8:16 AM, MacGyverMagic/Mgm wrote:
>
> > If people cited their sources in the first place, there wouldn't be
> > any
> > abuse by people using that fact to get it deleted. Any abuse with
> > these
> > policies can be prevented if people just made the effort. I think
> > I'm going
> > to reread those pages and think about rewriting them.
>
> But this is one of the problems. The burden of citing everything is
> larger than our editors, especially our casual editors, are willing
> to undertake. We will never reach a point where people will cite
> their sources in the first place. Hence the prospect of eternally
> playing catch-up.

I disagree.  Citing is not as difficult as you seem to think it is; if
you're in the middle of writing an article based on sources that are
sitting in front of you, it really isn't that hard to note down where
the facts came from as you write them down (lately I've become a fan
of the <ref>Unless otherwise noted, all details regarding [Subtopic X]
are drawn from [Source Y], pp. A-Z.</ref> style for citing basic facts
with relative ease).  It's true that casual editors tend not to cite
their contributions, but nobody does at first, and I think that the
reason for this has less to do with unwillingness to do so than with
the idea simply not occuring to people.  Obviously, any statements
about this are going to be speculative, but I can say that in my case
I started out just writing stuff down from memory and then, after
someone told me to cite sources, moved to doing that.  It will be very
difficult to get Wikipedia into a condition where passerby editors
feel that citing one's sources is an integral part of adding
information to an article, but I don't think that's a reason to give
up the fight.

I think that what tends to get lost in these discussions is the
incredibly good effect that citing as you go has on the accuracy of
writing.  I don't know how many times I've flipped open a book to find
a quick confirmation of some (seemingly very obvious) fact that I was
about to add to an article, only to find the opposite in print and
then, after checking a couple more books, to realize that my memory
had deceived me.  No matter how well people know their subjects, they
will make mistakes, and a writing practice that asks you to flip open
a book and check what you're saying before you write it down is a good
one.

--
Robth
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Robth)

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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Bogdan Giusca
On 25/01/07, Bogdan Giusca <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Thursday, January 25, 2007, 6:25:38 PM, Ken wrote:

> > WP:CITE and WP:RS are unreasonably easy to abuse

> What you call "abuse", others call improval of the sourcing and
> of the verifiability, and of therefore the credibility of Wikipedia.


No. Guidelines on sourcing and citing are good. The actual present
content of WP:RS is completely counterproductive shite.


- d.

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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by Francis Tyers


On Jan 25, 2007, at 11:53 AM, Francis Tyers wrote:

>
>> While all policies can be abused, some are easier to abuse than  
>> others.
>> Some are even attractive nuisances.
>
> The only people who think that having to cite and verify articles with
> reliable sources is "abuse" are the kind of people who think "oh no my
> pokemans character studies are at risk again!"

This comment (which I will note is offensive, wrongheaded, and  
appalling) is emblematic of the exact problem with [[WP:RS]] and  
[[WP:CITE]]. Nobody sane ever thought that the problem with Pokecruft  
was that it wasn't verifiable. We only started using [[WP:RS]] and  
[[WP:CITE]] to deal with that problem because we were desperate to  
come up with something that seemed sturdy that we could use to tell  
people to go away.

But this was fundamentally an act of desperation, and it shows,  
because the justifications for using [[WP:RS]] and [[WP:CITE]] in  
this way are so obviously flimsy. The deletions still go through  
because we have a well-sized cult of people who will faithfully vote  
delete, but anybody with an ounce of sense and knowledge about the  
subject knows full well that this is a flimsy justification and that  
the sources are reliable.

Deleting cruft articles with [[WP:RS]] and [[WP:CITE]] is an ugly  
kludge. If it's so vitally important that we do it, we need to come  
up with a justification that isn't a joke.

-Phil
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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by Robth


On Jan 25, 2007, at 2:15 PM, Robth wrote:

>
> I disagree.  Citing is not as difficult as you seem to think it is; if
> you're in the middle of writing an article based on sources that are
> sitting in front of you, it really isn't that hard to note down where
> the facts came from as you write them down (lately I've become a fan
> of the <ref>Unless otherwise noted, all details regarding [Subtopic X]
> are drawn from [Source Y], pp. A-Z.</ref> style for citing basic facts
> with relative ease).  It's true that casual editors tend not to cite
> their contributions, but nobody does at first, and I think that the
> reason for this has less to do with unwillingness to do so than with
> the idea simply not occuring to people.

It's not unwillingness as such. In an earlier post I used the  
hypothetical example of Susan. I like this example, so I'll use it  
again here.

Susan is a 40-year-old stay at home mother who majored in English.  
While idly browsing, she has found an error in the article on [[Pride  
and Prejudice]] and wants to fix it. Her son gets off the school bus  
in five minutes.

Now my claim is that every policy and process on Wikipedia should be  
usable by Susan. That is to say that there should not be any rules  
that Susan cannot remember off the top of her head, there should not  
be any code or processes that Susan would have to look up, there  
should be no pages that Susan must check before she hits "Edit."  
Susan should be able to complete the task of fixing an error and  
still meet her son at the bus stop.

If Susan can make the edit from memory, we're good. But if Susan has  
to go Google the fact to find it somewhere else, we're already losing  
precious seconds of Susan's time. (And beyond that, as I said  
elsewhere, if we depend on the low-hanging fruit of sources, which is  
what we do if we demand sourcing of people who don't have the time to  
do it right, we get crap sourcing. Constant crap sourcing is lower  
quality than we get if we trust people's memories some of the time.)  
If she has to go dig up her undergrad English textbook, it's a lost  
cause.

This is the problem. We conceived of [[WP:RS]] and [[WP:CITE]]  
without thinking of usability problems. And so we have policies that  
can't be used by anyone other than us, the Wikipedia hardcore. Which  
is a tiny minority of our userbase.

-Phil
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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Stan Shebs-2
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
Phil Sandifer wrote:
> I'd be similarly shocked if one could write a good article on high  
> temperature physics or group theory while being totally dependent on  
> published reliable sources, because those sources were never written  
> for the purpose of being used to explain the concept to novices.
>  
The best sources for general topics are textbooks actually; reliable,
and written to explain concepts. I find the introductions to monographs
and papers as useful for WP as the bodies; at least the more articulate
writers manage to get in a few words intelligible to the nonspecialist. :-)

Although I think the formal policies may be overdoing it, we do need to
make some effort to change the culture. Can Susan be so certain of her
twenty-years-ago memory that she can just  starting typing away with
confidence? I would rather she make a library visit first, or simply
leave a note on the talk page - several times I've been able to use
somebody else's talk page note as a starting point  for doing a bit of
research of my own, or triggered somebody else's further research by
asking questions. We would also have a lot fewer edit wars if people
didn't just wade in and start adding/deleting based on their faulty
memory or understanding.

Stan


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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Robth
On 1/25/07, Robth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 1/25/07, Phil Sandifer <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> >
> > On Jan 25, 2007, at 8:16 AM, MacGyverMagic/Mgm wrote:
> >
> > > If people cited their sources in the first place, there wouldn't be
> > > any
> > > abuse by people using that fact to get it deleted. Any abuse with
> > > these
> > > policies can be prevented if people just made the effort. I think
> > > I'm going
> > > to reread those pages and think about rewriting them.
> >
> > But this is one of the problems. The burden of citing everything is
> > larger than our editors, especially our casual editors, are willing
> > to undertake. We will never reach a point where people will cite
> > their sources in the first place. Hence the prospect of eternally
> > playing catch-up.
>
> I disagree.  Citing is not as difficult as you seem to think it is; if
> you're in the middle of writing an article based on sources that are
> sitting in front of you, it really isn't that hard to note down where
> the facts came from as you write them down (lately I've become a fan
> of the <ref>Unless otherwise noted, all details regarding [Subtopic X]
> are drawn from [Source Y], pp. A-Z.</ref> style for citing basic facts
> with relative ease).

You're assuming here that most of us sit down with our references in
front of us when we start writing an article.  I mostly don't, though
there are exceptions - I come across a gap or a misstatement in an
article, or a missing article, where I know what the right content is
to answer the question, and I start inserting the right content right
there.  If I can quickly google up a reliable source while doing so
I'll cite it then.  If not, I try and find something in the library at
home, or at work, but I don't worry about it much.

>  It's true that casual editors tend not to cite
> their contributions, but nobody does at first, and I think that the
> reason for this has less to do with unwillingness to do so than with
> the idea simply not occuring to people.  Obviously, any statements
> about this are going to be speculative, but I can say that in my case
> I started out just writing stuff down from memory and then, after
> someone told me to cite sources, moved to doing that.  It will be very
> difficult to get Wikipedia into a condition where passerby editors
> feel that citing one's sources is an integral part of adding
> information to an article, but I don't think that's a reason to give
> up the fight.
>
> I think that what tends to get lost in these discussions is the
> incredibly good effect that citing as you go has on the accuracy of
> writing.  I don't know how many times I've flipped open a book to find
> a quick confirmation of some (seemingly very obvious) fact that I was
> about to add to an article, only to find the opposite in print and
> then, after checking a couple more books, to realize that my memory
> had deceived me.  No matter how well people know their subjects, they
> will make mistakes, and a writing practice that asks you to flip open
> a book and check what you're saying before you write it down is a good
> one.

Here's the problem.  Academic rigor - which I understand, having done
refereed papers for conferences and such - is all fine and good for
scholarly original research papers.

For an encyclopedia, the vast bulk of what we're trying to do is to
simply convey the top level survey of a field to the general public.
Textbooks are cited, but not nearly as well as research papers.
Encyclopedias are generally cited much worse than that, if at all.

It's also in conflict with the idea of a Wiki - that allowing rapid,
open growth will move in a focused random walk towards better and more
accurate articles over time.

I have no problem with people who want to write WP articles as
rigorously as they would an article for Nature or any professional
journal or conference.  But if you do that, you work much more slowly
than people willing to let it hang out a little.

If we look at Wikipedia as the process of getting to really good
articles on all the subjects which are notable in the world, rather
than the finished product, we need to be encouraging people who know
what they're talking about to fill in all the gaps first, and then
polish everything off with citations, extra fact checking, corrections
of minor goofs etc later.


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
> If Susan can make the edit from memory, we're good.

No, we're not good. That's the whole point. People's memories were
reliable enough when Wikipedia first started and nobody actually used
it for anything. That's no longer the case. If we want to be a
credible encyclopedia, we need our facts to come from reliable sources
(citing them isn't the important part, that's just a way to prove the
important bit - that the fact came from a reliable source).

There seems to be a serious misunderstanding of what "source" means. A
source isn't somewhere people can go to verify the fact, it is where
the fact came from. Citing sources is easy, because you will always
have the source with you when you write the article (if you think you
don't, then it means the source is your memory, in which case you
aren't using a reliable source and shouldn't add the fact). The
problem isn't that people aren't citing reliable sources, the problem
is that they aren't *using* reliable sources.

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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by Stan Shebs-2


On Jan 25, 2007, at 2:36 PM, Stan Shebs wrote:

>
> Although I think the formal policies may be overdoing it, we do  
> need to
> make some effort to change the culture. Can Susan be so certain of her
> twenty-years-ago memory that she can just  starting typing away with
> confidence? I would rather she make a library visit first, or simply
> leave a note on the talk page - several times I've been able to use
> somebody else's talk page note as a starting point  for doing a bit of
> research of my own, or triggered somebody else's further research by
> asking questions. We would also have a lot fewer edit wars if people
> didn't just wade in and start adding/deleting based on their faulty
> memory or understanding.

That's the thing, though - Wikipedia was built by Susan. She did the  
heavy lifting to get Wikipedia to where it is today. We depend on Susan.

Now, we also depend on hardcore editors who deal with policy issues  
and edit wars and get long-term involved - admins and future admins,  
basically. These people clean up if Susan misremembers. As well as  
doing a thousand other bigger tasks that Susan isn't interested in.

But we need to adamantly resist letting this second pool of users set  
the rules in such a way that Susan gets squeezed out. Susan should be  
able to do any small task on Wikipedia.

-Phil
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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton


On Jan 25, 2007, at 2:42 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:

>> If Susan can make the edit from memory, we're good.
>
> No, we're not good. That's the whole point. People's memories were
> reliable enough when Wikipedia first started and nobody actually used
> it for anything. That's no longer the case. If we want to be a
> credible encyclopedia, we need our facts to come from reliable sources
> (citing them isn't the important part, that's just a way to prove the
> important bit - that the fact came from a reliable source).
>
> There seems to be a serious misunderstanding of what "source" means. A
> source isn't somewhere people can go to verify the fact, it is where
> the fact came from. Citing sources is easy, because you will always
> have the source with you when you write the article (if you think you
> don't, then it means the source is your memory, in which case you
> aren't using a reliable source and shouldn't add the fact). The
> problem isn't that people aren't citing reliable sources, the problem
> is that they aren't *using* reliable sources.

You are advocating the complete abandonment of the principles that  
underly Wikipedia.

"You can edit this page right now." That's the mantra. That's the  
key. That's what got us where we are. It's foolish to give up on the  
thing that made us succeed where other things (Nupedia) failed.

-Phil
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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Stan Shebs-2
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
Phil Sandifer wrote:
> If Susan can make the edit from memory, we're good. But if Susan has  
> to go Google the fact to find it somewhere else, we're already losing  
> precious seconds of Susan's time.
But how does that work out overall, when you save seconds of Susan's
time, and cost me a half-hour of research to figure out why an article
is inconsistent with all the ones it links with? Scholarship is tricky
enough on its own, we don't need to make it harder by mixing in a bunch
of random half-remembered bits.

Stan


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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

· Firefoxman
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
Umm, am I missign somthing here? Who is "Susan"?

On 1/25/07, Phil Sandifer <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
>
> On Jan 25, 2007, at 2:36 PM, Stan Shebs wrote:
>
> >
> > Although I think the formal policies may be overdoing it, we do
> > need to
> > make some effort to change the culture. Can Susan be so certain of her
> > twenty-years-ago memory that she can just  starting typing away with
> > confidence? I would rather she make a library visit first, or simply
> > leave a note on the talk page - several times I've been able to use
> > somebody else's talk page note as a starting point  for doing a bit of
> > research of my own, or triggered somebody else's further research by
> > asking questions. We would also have a lot fewer edit wars if people
> > didn't just wade in and start adding/deleting based on their faulty
> > memory or understanding.
>
> That's the thing, though - Wikipedia was built by Susan. She did the
> heavy lifting to get Wikipedia to where it is today. We depend on Susan.
>
> Now, we also depend on hardcore editors who deal with policy issues
> and edit wars and get long-term involved - admins and future admins,
> basically. These people clean up if Susan misremembers. As well as
> doing a thousand other bigger tasks that Susan isn't interested in.
>
> But we need to adamantly resist letting this second pool of users set
> the rules in such a way that Susan gets squeezed out. Susan should be
> able to do any small task on Wikipedia.
>
> -Phil
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>



--
-Firefoxman
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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Philip Sandifer-2


On Jan 25, 2007, at 2:53 PM, · Firefoxman wrote:

> Umm, am I missign somthing here? Who is "Susan"?

Scroll up - she's a hypothetical stay-at-home mother with five  
minutes to spend on a Wikipedia article. My contention is that we  
need to avoid policies that prevent Susan from editing.

-Phil
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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Bogdan Giusca
In reply to this post by George William Herbert
Thursday, January 25, 2007, 9:38:50 PM, George wrote:

> Here's the problem.  Academic rigor - which I understand, having done
> refereed papers for conferences and such - is all fine and good for
> scholarly original research papers.

> For an encyclopedia, the vast bulk of what we're trying to do is to
> simply convey the top level survey of a field to the general public.

You are arguing that for an encyclopedia, unlike for the academia,
reliability and fact-checking are not important.

The academic rigor exists not just due to their elitism: that's how
the Academia mentains their high standards of its publications.

From my experience on Wikipedia, unsourced articles are very unreliable
and may have plenty of wrong facts. Most of thse wrong facts are not
added due to malice (though that is not uncommon), but they were
added by people either from their (inevitable unreliable) memories,
from blogs and forums, which, on average have an awful lack of
accuracy or they are simply misinterpretations.




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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Philip Sandifer-2
In reply to this post by Stan Shebs-2


On Jan 25, 2007, at 2:51 PM, Stan Shebs wrote:

> Phil Sandifer wrote:
>> If Susan can make the edit from memory, we're good. But if Susan has
>> to go Google the fact to find it somewhere else, we're already losing
>> precious seconds of Susan's time.
> But how does that work out overall, when you save seconds of Susan's
> time, and cost me a half-hour of research to figure out why an article
> is inconsistent with all the ones it links with? Scholarship is tricky
> enough on its own, we don't need to make it harder by mixing in a  
> bunch
> of random half-remembered bits.

Simple. You're a different kind of editor than Susan. You're willing  
to put long hours into Wikipedia. You care enough to join a mailing  
list about Wikipedia. Accordingly, it's not the end of the world for  
you to spend half an hour on a task like this. Because (and this is  
important) most of the time it won't be wrong. Susan may not be 100%  
reliable, but she's pretty good. How do we know this? Because she  
wrote most of Wikipedia, and Wikipedia is pretty good.

The model is this: we have thousands of Susans. They do a lot of the  
heavy lifting on Wikipedia. Then we have a few hundred hardcore users  
who fix the problems left by the thousands of Susans - they check odd  
facts that don't seem to jibe, they deal with malicious users, they  
get involved with edit wars, they delete, they debate policy.

Susan does 90% of the work. The hardcore do about 10% of the work, a  
lot of which is cleaning up after Susan. But that's still a massive  
net amount of work being done by Susan. Who does not show up on this  
mailing list to offer her viewpoint, which is why we need to take  
care to stop and think about Susan (and, of course, the other  
thousands of casual editors.)

-Phil
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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

George William Herbert
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
On 1/25/07, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > If Susan can make the edit from memory, we're good.
>
> No, we're not good. That's the whole point. People's memories were
> reliable enough when Wikipedia first started and nobody actually used
> it for anything. That's no longer the case. If we want to be a
> credible encyclopedia, we need our facts to come from reliable sources
> (citing them isn't the important part, that's just a way to prove the
> important bit - that the fact came from a reliable source).
>
> There seems to be a serious misunderstanding of what "source" means. A
> source isn't somewhere people can go to verify the fact, it is where
> the fact came from. Citing sources is easy, because you will always
> have the source with you when you write the article (if you think you
> don't, then it means the source is your memory, in which case you
> aren't using a reliable source and shouldn't add the fact). The
> problem isn't that people aren't citing reliable sources, the problem
> is that they aren't *using* reliable sources.

If an expert can't write an accurate, if perhaps not precise, survey
artice on any notable topic in their field of study pretty much off
the top of their head from memory, they're not an expert.

Citations, fact checking, and minor corrections are EXCELLENT things
to leave for others, or for later review by yourself.

Wikipedia is not the fact-based encyclopedia project you're demanding.
 It can never be, because it's not structured that way in a semantic
or knowledge flow manner.  Attempting to force Wikipedia into that
model will blow up your mind and our project.  Please stop.

If you want to do a fact-based encyclopedia project, that's fine; I've
thought about that as a project.  I think it's possible to create a
knowledge database with cited/referenced facts, and semantic context,
such that one can then derive sets of facts for specific articles and
write an article which is 100% referenced and verifyable by nature,
and allows for easy context access.  Such a project is an interesting
computer knowledge theory project.

I predict that it will not see critical mass of crontributors within
the next decade, however.

Wikipedia is what it is, because of what it is - something that you
don't have to be an academic with a reference library right in front
of you as you type.  That we'd like to nail down all the important
stuff with such references over time doesn't mean that it's possible
to write an encyclopedia from scratch with all that information and
volunteer labor.  It probably isn't, here and now, and trying to force
that project model into the existing Wikipedia model is wrong,
foolish, and destructive to Wikipedia's success model.

Killing our project here and now by turning it into Nupedia makes no
sense.  If their model works, then perhaps we should all go work over
there.  If it doesn't then leave the WP model alone...


--
-george william herbert
[hidden email]

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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Ryzvel
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
I'm afraid that sources like the Brittanica are not free of this. Tim . . .
Thursday, January 25, 2007, 9:38:50 PM, George wrote:

> Here's the problem.  Academic rigor - which I understand, having done
> refereed papers for conferences and such - is all fine and good for
> scholarly original research papers.

> For an encyclopedia, the vast bulk of what we're trying to do is to
> simply convey the top level survey of a field to the general public.

You are arguing that for an encyclopedia, unlike for the academia,
reliability and fact-checking are not important.

The academic rigor exists not just due to their elitism: that's how
the Academia mentains their high standards of its publications.

From my experience on Wikipedia, unsourced articles are very unreliable
and may have plenty of wrong facts. Most of thse wrong facts are not
added due to malice (though that is not uncommon), but they were
added by people either from their (inevitable unreliable) memories,
from blogs and forums, which, on average have an awful lack of
accuracy or they are simply misinterpretations.




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Re: [WikiEN-l] Nuke [[WP:CITE]] and [[WP:RS]]

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Philip Sandifer-2
> You are advocating the complete abandonment of the principles that
> underly Wikipedia.
>
> "You can edit this page right now." That's the mantra. That's the
> key. That's what got us where we are. It's foolish to give up on the
> thing that made us succeed where other things (Nupedia) failed.

The key underlying principle is making a free encyclopedia available
to everyone. "Anyone can edit" is simply a means to an end - it is
secondary to the goal of making an encyclopedia.

We should be working to make things better for the readers, not the
contributors. Relaxing our rules on using reliable sources would be
great for the contributors, but makes the website pretty much useless
for the readers.

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