Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Charles Matthews
Sam Korn wrote:
> Furthermore, there is the potential that teaching students to question
> Wikipedia could lead to their being more disposed to question other
> sources, which is obviously very useful in the study of any subject
> (and supremely history).
>  
Possibly more broadly. I was looking around for references to a rather
'retro' teaching method for history, and found this:

"The significance of ephemera for the teaching of history in schools has
already
been demonstrated. In particular, Longman’s ‘Jackdaw’ series from the 1960s,
and more recently the ephemera collections sold by the Public Record Office,
have shown how effective reproductions of ephemeral documents of the
past can
be as part of a teaching pack. The educational potential of ephemera at
all stages
of education has increased beyond measure in recent years with the
widespread
availability of electronic methods of delivering images."

From
http://www.cilip.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/0CE6922C-0DF2-4A70-ACED-B40005A115A4/0/ephemera.pdf,
at p. 11.

I'm old enough to remember the 'Jackdaws', which were folders of
reproduction period documents and other things: primary sources in a
wallet. The point made here is quite correct, though closer to using the
Commons and Wikisource perhaps: it could become essentially trivial to
produce the raw material for such a thing now, and to rehabilitate
'project work'. This would fit quite well with also asking students to
go and critique pieces of historical writing in the suggested style. Of
course curricula aren't exactly designed for this stuff, as of right
now, in the UK. (Hmmm, 40 years since I was last subjected to formal
history teaching: "the Hanoverians" ... wonder if it would have helped.)

Charles




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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Doc glasgow
doc wrote:
> More seriously, I have primary age school-kids, and I would not allow
> them to read nevermind edit wikipedia. I can't be alone in that. When my
> daughter showed an interest, I went out and bought Encarta and
> Britannica - which she loves and which are great for school.
My son is now in first year of college, and I tried for years to get him
more involved; I even brought him with me to Alexandria.  It hasn't
worked, but I know that he used Wikipedia to help him in his research
for school papers.  He has had the good sense to know that using
Wikipedia should not be both the beginning and the end of the research
project, but neither should Encarta and Britannica be so. In a recent
paper on Machu Pichu he ran into a stub article about some relevant
person, but there was a link to es:wp which had a much longer article.  
I then told him that figuring out the other language was his problem,
and he managed.

Having Wikipedia as a substitute for a school history curriculum would
not be appropriate.  It should be a supplement there, with probably
greater importance than for other subjects taught at that level of
school.  Nationalism is a major factor in school social studies
curricula, and a great medium for indoctrinating the child with official
truth.  Access to Wikipedia and other on-line sources helps him to
formulate the questions that needed to challenge the teachers of those
truths.

Ec

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Doc glasgow
Ray Saintonge wrote:

> My son is now in first year of college, and I tried for years to get him
> more involved; I even brought him with me to Alexandria.  It hasn't
> worked, but I know that he used Wikipedia to help him in his research
> for school papers.  He has had the good sense to know that using
> Wikipedia should not be both the beginning and the end of the research
> project, but neither should Encarta and Britannica be so. In a recent
> paper on Machu Pichu he ran into a stub article about some relevant
> person, but there was a link to es:wp which had a much longer article.  
> I then told him that figuring out the other language was his problem,
> and he managed.
>
> Having Wikipedia as a substitute for a school history curriculum would
> not be appropriate.  It should be a supplement there, with probably
> greater importance than for other subjects taught at that level of
> school.  Nationalism is a major factor in school social studies
> curricula, and a great medium for indoctrinating the child with official
> truth.  Access to Wikipedia and other on-line sources helps him to
> formulate the questions that needed to challenge the teachers of those
> truths.
>
> Ec
>

The idea of wikipedia anywhere near a school curriculum, except perhaps
in a brief IT lesson, horrifies me. The idea of children using wikipedia
to challenge the "official truth" of a qualified teacher with "but sir,
it says on wikipedia", is laughable.

I think that most of this discussion has missed the point that the
English Ofsted chap in no way suggested that Wikipedia should be used as
a teaching supplement at all, or that he had anything to do with
informing people about history or politics. Rather he seems to suggest
that certain internet skills "blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter"
should be taught in schools, and children should be familiar with how to
access their information. So, we no more get Wikipedia as a source of
knowledge than Twitter, and your local blog.

The reaction "this shows the WMF should go into schools" is as
ridiculous a conclusion as it is a typical wikicentric "OMG they want
us, they really do - we always said they would".

Why I think Sir John is barking up the wrong tree is that children are
quite able to teach themselves to blog and edit a wiki. It does not
require a high level of education - as the, em, abilities of our
community adequately demonstrates. Indeed, the average 40-something
classroom teacher is more likely to know less than the kids. But what
the children  *can't* teach themselves (and what on-line communication
drastically requires) is basic literacy skills.

You want to train wikipedians in a primary school? Turn off the PCs and
give them grammar and dictation.

Scott





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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

David Gerard-2
2009/3/27 doc <[hidden email]>:

> Why I think Sir John is barking up the wrong tree is that children are
> quite able to teach themselves to blog and edit a wiki.


Yes. Perhaps we need lessons in how to get the kids *off* Bebo.


- d.

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Marc Riddell
In reply to this post by Doc glasgow

> Ray Saintonge wrote:
>
>> My son is now in first year of college, and I tried for years to get him
>> more involved; I even brought him with me to Alexandria.  It hasn't
>> worked, but I know that he used Wikipedia to help him in his research
>> for school papers.  He has had the good sense to know that using
>> Wikipedia should not be both the beginning and the end of the research
>> project, but neither should Encarta and Britannica be so. In a recent
>> paper on Machu Pichu he ran into a stub article about some relevant
>> person, but there was a link to es:wp which had a much longer article.
>> I then told him that figuring out the other language was his problem,
>> and he managed.
>>
>> Having Wikipedia as a substitute for a school history curriculum would
>> not be appropriate.  It should be a supplement there, with probably
>> greater importance than for other subjects taught at that level of
>> school.  Nationalism is a major factor in school social studies
>> curricula, and a great medium for indoctrinating the child with official
>> truth.  Access to Wikipedia and other on-line sources helps him to
>> formulate the questions that needed to challenge the teachers of those
>> truths.
>>
>> Ec
>>
on 3/27/09 6:14 PM, doc at [hidden email] wrote:

>
> The idea of wikipedia anywhere near a school curriculum, except perhaps
> in a brief IT lesson, horrifies me. The idea of children using wikipedia
> to challenge the "official truth" of a qualified teacher with "but sir,
> it says on wikipedia", is laughable.
>
> I think that most of this discussion has missed the point that the
> English Ofsted chap in no way suggested that Wikipedia should be used as
> a teaching supplement at all, or that he had anything to do with
> informing people about history or politics. Rather he seems to suggest
> that certain internet skills "blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter"
> should be taught in schools, and children should be familiar with how to
> access their information. So, we no more get Wikipedia as a source of
> knowledge than Twitter, and your local blog.
>
> The reaction "this shows the WMF should go into schools" is as
> ridiculous a conclusion as it is a typical wikicentric "OMG they want
> us, they really do - we always said they would".
>
> Why I think Sir John is barking up the wrong tree is that children are
> quite able to teach themselves to blog and edit a wiki. It does not
> require a high level of education - as the, em, abilities of our
> community adequately demonstrates. Indeed, the average 40-something
> classroom teacher is more likely to know less than the kids. But what
> the children  *can't* teach themselves (and what on-line communication
> drastically requires) is basic literacy skills.

Excellent post, Scott!
>
> You want to train wikipedians in a primary school? Turn off the PCs and
> give them grammar and dictation.
>
And skills in verbal communication, in-person, face-to-face.

Marc Riddell


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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Sam Korn
In reply to this post by Doc glasgow
On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 10:14 PM, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The idea of wikipedia anywhere near a school curriculum, except perhaps
> in a brief IT lesson, horrifies me. The idea of children using wikipedia
> to challenge the "official truth" of a qualified teacher with "but sir,
> it says on wikipedia", is laughable.
>
> I think that most of this discussion has missed the point that the
> English Ofsted chap in no way suggested that Wikipedia should be used as
> a teaching supplement at all, or that he had anything to do with
> informing people about history or politics. Rather he seems to suggest
> that certain internet skills "blogging, podcasts, Wikipedia and Twitter"
> should be taught in schools, and children should be familiar with how to
> access their information. So, we no more get Wikipedia as a source of
> knowledge than Twitter, and your local blog.
>
> The reaction "this shows the WMF should go into schools" is as
> ridiculous a conclusion as it is a typical wikicentric "OMG they want
> us, they really do - we always said they would".

As ever, I'm a little more optimistic than you, Scott.  I think there
is a potential use for members of the Wikipedia community to go into
schools and explain how Wikipedia should be used because

1. children /will/ encounter Wikipedia;
2. they need to know how it can be helpful and how it can be harmful; and
3. teachers are unlikely to be able to impart this knowledge.

> You want to train wikipedians in a primary school? Turn off the PCs and
> give them grammar and dictation.

And Latin.

--
Sam
PGP public key: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Sam_Korn/public_key

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Doc glasgow
Sam Korn wrote:

>
> As ever, I'm a little more optimistic than you, Scott.  I think there
> is a potential use for members of the Wikipedia community to go into
> schools and explain how Wikipedia should be used because
>
> 1. children /will/ encounter Wikipedia;
> 2. they need to know how it can be helpful and how it can be harmful; and
> 3. teachers are unlikely to be able to impart this knowledge.
>
>> You want to train wikipedians in a primary school? Turn off the PCs and
>> give them grammar and dictation.
>
> And Latin.
>

Dum spiro, spero

However, Children will encounter many things that are helpful and
harmful: MacDonalds, Disney, Microsoft, Celebrity Big Brother, and the
blessed Royal Bank of Scotland.

Whilst the odd guest speaker from such organisations appearing for an
hour on a dull Friday at the end of term no doubt has its merits, I
wouldn't start developing your agenda for "Wikipedia Classes" anytime
soon. Or maybe youtube should be there too.

If given a good general education, kids will, for the most, figure such
stuff out for themselves. And in any case, the law of technological
evolution says by the time primary kids hit the workplace, Wikipedia may
well be as relevant as my intimate knowledge of the ZX Spectrum.

Scott



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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by Doc glasgow
On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 10:14 PM, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>

> The idea of wikipedia anywhere near a school curriculum, except perhaps
> in a brief IT lesson, horrifies me. The idea of children using wikipedia
> to challenge the "official truth" of a qualified teacher with "but sir,
> it says on wikipedia", is laughable.

Presumably, they would actually go: "but sir, I read the Wikipedia
article, and while checking the sources provided there, I did some
background reading and research, and the history presented in those
other sources is different to what you are teaching us".

i.e. Hopefully this hypothetical kid would credit the source behind
Wikipedia, and credit Wikipedia only in-so-far as it provided an entry
point into reading about the topic.

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Doc glasgow
Carcharoth wrote:

> On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 10:14 PM, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> <snip>
>
>> The idea of wikipedia anywhere near a school curriculum, except perhaps
>> in a brief IT lesson, horrifies me. The idea of children using wikipedia
>> to challenge the "official truth" of a qualified teacher with "but sir,
>> it says on wikipedia", is laughable.
>
> Presumably, they would actually go: "but sir, I read the Wikipedia
> article, and while checking the sources provided there, I did some
> background reading and research, and the history presented in those
> other sources is different to what you are teaching us".
>
> i.e. Hopefully this hypothetical kid would credit the source behind
> Wikipedia, and credit Wikipedia only in-so-far as it provided an entry
> point into reading about the topic.
>
> Carcharoth
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>


Which is about as likely as them reading the endnotes and sources
sections in the textbook the school is commending.

The notion that using wikipedia properly makes people think any more (or
less) than using any other media is flawed. At least the people
publishing the dead tree have put their names and reputations to the
work, and if it stinks of bias then they smell. The agenda of
wikipedia's nameless editors are, in fact, far more hidden.




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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Thomas Dalton
2009/3/28 doc <[hidden email]>:

> Carcharoth wrote:
>> Presumably, they would actually go: "but sir, I read the Wikipedia
>> article, and while checking the sources provided there, I did some
>> background reading and research, and the history presented in those
>> other sources is different to what you are teaching us".
>>
>> i.e. Hopefully this hypothetical kid would credit the source behind
>> Wikipedia, and credit Wikipedia only in-so-far as it provided an entry
>> point into reading about the topic.
>
> Which is about as likely as them reading the endnotes and sources
> sections in the textbook the school is commending.
>
> The notion that using wikipedia properly makes people think any more (or
> less) than using any other media is flawed. At least the people
> publishing the dead tree have put their names and reputations to the
> work, and if it stinks of bias then they smell. The agenda of
> wikipedia's nameless editors are, in fact, far more hidden.

Wikipedia is generally better referenced that most primary school
textbooks I've seen. Presumably Wikipedia won't replace textbooks,
children will, instead, be learning from multiple sources and being
taught how to judge their reliability.

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Carcharoth
On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:36 AM, Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2009/3/28 doc <[hidden email]>:
>> Carcharoth wrote:
>>> Presumably, they would actually go: "but sir, I read the Wikipedia
>>> article, and while checking the sources provided there, I did some
>>> background reading and research, and the history presented in those
>>> other sources is different to what you are teaching us".
>>>
>>> i.e. Hopefully this hypothetical kid would credit the source behind
>>> Wikipedia, and credit Wikipedia only in-so-far as it provided an entry
>>> point into reading about the topic.
>>
>> Which is about as likely as them reading the endnotes and sources
>> sections in the textbook the school is commending.
>>
>> The notion that using wikipedia properly makes people think any more (or
>> less) than using any other media is flawed. At least the people
>> publishing the dead tree have put their names and reputations to the
>> work, and if it stinks of bias then they smell. The agenda of
>> wikipedia's nameless editors are, in fact, far more hidden.
>
> Wikipedia is generally better referenced that most primary school
> textbooks I've seen. Presumably Wikipedia won't replace textbooks,
> children will, instead, be learning from multiple sources and being
> taught how to judge their reliability.

Though to take the other tack for a minute, as a general purpose
encyclopedia (with niches of speciality and depth), Wikipedia doesn't
use all the diversity of sources for most topics. There is still
editorial discretion over how to present a particular article or
topic, and that is where bias can still be present, through the
omission of sources. There is little point someone (child or adult)
going "Wow! 20 different sources used and listed in this article", if
the article fails to use several of the most reliable and
authoritative sources on a topic. And if a topic has thousands of
sources, Wikipedia, even if it uses 100 sources, can't claim to be
distilling the diversity of the thousands of sources (though hopefully
it would point to books that do approach that level of detail).

i.e. learn from using Wikipedia that multiple sources and judging
their reliability are essential, but don't presume any particular
Wikipedia article (even if featured) is comprehensive in terms of
sources. Even the best featured article is still just a starting point
(albeit usually a very good one).

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Thomas Dalton
2009/3/28 Carcharoth <[hidden email]>:
> i.e. learn from using Wikipedia that multiple sources and judging
> their reliability are essential, but don't presume any particular
> Wikipedia article (even if featured) is comprehensive in terms of
> sources. Even the best featured article is still just a starting point
> (albeit usually a very good one).

Of course. Has anyone claimed that Wikipedia is free of bias? We try
and minimise the bias (and, I think, do a pretty decent job), but
we'll never eliminate it entirely.

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by Thomas Dalton
Thomas Dalton wrote:

>
> Wikipedia is generally better referenced that most primary school
> textbooks I've seen. Presumably Wikipedia won't replace textbooks,
> children will, instead, be learning from multiple sources and being
> taught how to judge their reliability.
>

Yes, at its best, Wikipedia is better referenced. But the rest of the
Wikipedia promotional comparison does not follow.

Children's textbooks are not without referencing because evil
educationalists want to suppress other views, thus giving wikipedia a
new mission of liberating oppression. Children's textbooks are basic,
because that's where Children start. There are libraries - free to
Children - full of well referenced books.

However.
1) Most of Wikipedia is NOT written from multiple sources. Indeed some
of out better written articles are basically mono-authored and use the
author's preferred source.
2) The reason kids don't read the highly referenced works is not because
  "sources are evil" because they are often not written in a manner
accessible to children. Wikipedia here is no different. Many of out
bloated or complex featured articles are not simple and not particularly
child friendly.
3) Read the School textbook, you are less likely to be reading downright
  bullshit.




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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Charles Matthews
doc wrote:

> Thomas Dalton wrote:
>
>  
>> Wikipedia is generally better referenced that most primary school
>> textbooks I've seen. Presumably Wikipedia won't replace textbooks,
>> children will, instead, be learning from multiple sources and being
>> taught how to judge their reliability.
>>
>>    
>
> Yes, at its best, Wikipedia is better referenced. But the rest of the
> Wikipedia promotional comparison does not follow.
>
> Children's textbooks are not without referencing because evil
> educationalists want to suppress other views, thus giving wikipedia a
> new mission of liberating oppression. Children's textbooks are basic,
> because that's where Children start. There are libraries - free to
> Children - full of well referenced books.
>  
There are certainly some false dichotomies flying around here - utterly
typical of discussions of education, I might say.  Reference works (such
as WP) are not meant to displace textbooks, anyway. Critical skills run
in parallel to straight learning: sometimes they supplement learning,
and at other times (IMX) they can get in the way (but that is more with
adult learners). Providing references on a per-fact basis (as WP's
online style encourages) is not providing a bibliography of full scope.
And so on.

Charles


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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Charlotte Webb
In reply to this post by Ray Saintonge
On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Nationalism is a major factor in school social studies curricula, and a
> great medium for indoctrinating the child with official truth.  Access to
> Wikipedia and other on-line sources helps him to formulate the
> questions that needed to challenge the teachers of those truths.

History textbooks tend to lie by omission but the board of education
will be loathe to approve anything that explicitly encourages students
to look elsewhere for the director's cut. They don't want to deal with
the fallout when students report back to class asking why their
curriculum bears no mention of the Mỹ Lai massacre, the bombing of
Dresden, Operation Northwoods, the Bonus Army, the School of the
Americas handbook, Martin Luther King's FBI fan-mail, Jonestown, or
the Tuskegee Study, etc. Indeed, who would?

—C.W.

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Carcharoth
On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:48 PM, Charlotte Webb
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> Nationalism is a major factor in school social studies curricula, and a
>> great medium for indoctrinating the child with official truth.  Access to
>> Wikipedia and other on-line sources helps him to formulate the
>> questions that needed to challenge the teachers of those truths.
>
> History textbooks tend to lie by omission but the board of education
> will be loathe to approve anything that explicitly encourages students
> to look elsewhere for the director's cut. They don't want to deal with
> the fallout when students report back to class asking why their
> curriculum bears no mention of the Mỹ Lai massacre, the bombing of
> Dresden, Operation Northwoods, the Bonus Army, the School of the
> Americas handbook, Martin Luther King's FBI fan-mail, Jonestown, or
> the Tuskegee Study, etc. Indeed, who would?

Does that make the "board of education" part of the problem?

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Carcharoth
[Correcting previous post - can't Wikipedia have editable posts?]

On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:54 PM, Carcharoth
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:48 PM, Charlotte Webb
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> Nationalism is a major factor in school social studies curricula, and a
>>> great medium for indoctrinating the child with official truth.  Access to
>>> Wikipedia and other on-line sources helps him to formulate the
>>> questions that needed to challenge the teachers of those truths.
>>
>> History textbooks tend to lie by omission but the board of education
>> will be loathe to approve anything that explicitly encourages students
>> to look elsewhere for the director's cut. They don't want to deal with
>> the fallout when students report back to class asking why their
>> curriculum bears no mention of the Mỹ Lai massacre, the bombing of
>> Dresden, Operation Northwoods, the Bonus Army, the School of the
>> Americas handbook, Martin Luther King's FBI fan-mail, Jonestown, or
>> the Tuskegee Study, etc. Indeed, who would?

Doesn't that make the "board of education" part of the problem?

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Doc glasgow
Carcharoth wrote:

> [Correcting previous post - can't Wikipedia have editable posts?]
>
> On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:54 PM, Carcharoth
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:48 PM, Charlotte Webb
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> Nationalism is a major factor in school social studies curricula, and a
>>>> great medium for indoctrinating the child with official truth.  Access to
>>>> Wikipedia and other on-line sources helps him to formulate the
>>>> questions that needed to challenge the teachers of those truths.
>>> History textbooks tend to lie by omission but the board of education
>>> will be loathe to approve anything that explicitly encourages students
>>> to look elsewhere for the director's cut. They don't want to deal with
>>> the fallout when students report back to class asking why their
>>> curriculum bears no mention of the Mỹ Lai massacre, the bombing of
>>> Dresden, Operation Northwoods, the Bonus Army, the School of the
>>> Americas handbook, Martin Luther King's FBI fan-mail, Jonestown, or
>>> the Tuskegee Study, etc. Indeed, who would?
>
> Doesn't that make the "board of education" part of the problem?
>
> Carcharoth
>


So, replace all such specialist elected and accountable bodies (or
bodies accountable to the elected) with a wiki? Replace the expert, who
wrote the textbook, with the anarchy of the truth according to whoever
made the last edit?

I think I'll stay off the koolaid and stick with democracy,
professionalism, and expertise - yes it can be, on some occasions,
stupid, biased and myopic, but it is still the best system we've got.




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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Carcharoth
On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 1:32 PM, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Carcharoth wrote:
>> [Correcting previous post - can't Wikipedia have editable posts?]
>>
>> On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:54 PM, Carcharoth
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 12:48 PM, Charlotte Webb
>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Mar 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>>> Nationalism is a major factor in school social studies curricula, and a
>>>>> great medium for indoctrinating the child with official truth.  Access to
>>>>> Wikipedia and other on-line sources helps him to formulate the
>>>>> questions that needed to challenge the teachers of those truths.
>>>> History textbooks tend to lie by omission but the board of education
>>>> will be loathe to approve anything that explicitly encourages students
>>>> to look elsewhere for the director's cut. They don't want to deal with
>>>> the fallout when students report back to class asking why their
>>>> curriculum bears no mention of the Mỹ Lai massacre, the bombing of
>>>> Dresden, Operation Northwoods, the Bonus Army, the School of the
>>>> Americas handbook, Martin Luther King's FBI fan-mail, Jonestown, or
>>>> the Tuskegee Study, etc. Indeed, who would?
>>
>> Doesn't that make the "board of education" part of the problem?
>>
> So, replace all such specialist elected and accountable bodies (or
> bodies accountable to the elected) with a wiki?

Not sure such bodies are accountable (at least not in the UK).
Definitely not elected in the UK.

> Replace the expert, who wrote the textbook, with the anarchy of the truth according to
> whoever made the last edit?
>
> I think I'll stay off the koolaid and stick with democracy,
> professionalism, and expertise - yes it can be, on some occasions,
> stupid, biased and myopic, but it is still the best system we've got.

Yes, and Wikipedia should reflect that. The problem is people thinking
that Wikipedia is authoritative. If the editing is true to the
sources, Wikipedia works well. If it isn't, then Wikipedia doesn't
work well. The disclaimer should read: "please check everything
written here against the sources provided - if there are no sources,
the article cannot be relied upon". The trick is to harness the
editing power of skilled (and trained?) volunteers to write the
articles, and combine that with the expertise needed to independently
fact-check, review, verify and sign off on an article.

The former ("anyone can edit") doesn't involve any selection for
skills or training (though some natural self-selection and
community-driven selection takes place), and the latter ("review by
experts") doesn't scale.

The result is "reader beware". And it's always been like that. If
someone using Wikipedia only learns that they need to check and assess
the sources of information - any information - then they have learnt
something invaluable.

Carcharoth

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Re: Wikipedia isn't just a good idea - it's compulsory

Charlotte Webb
In reply to this post by Doc glasgow
On Sat, Mar 28, 2009 at 7:32 AM, doc <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I think I'll stay off the koolaid and stick with democracy,
> professionalism, and expertise - yes it can be, on some occasions,
> stupid, biased and myopic, but it is still the best system we've got.

Well, I know everyone's mileage will vary within certain constraints
but these are examples of things I sure as hell didn't learn about in
school, and might have eventually died without knowing about if not
for Wikipedia.

I know it's as much my fault as anyone else's. I mean you can say
"search the fucking web" or "go read books in the library till they
kick you out" but that can only work if you have some idea what to
look for.

Unfortunately I don't think there a good "random article" button for
the entire internet.

—C.W.

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