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Cock-up-over-conspiracy
post Fri 19th March 2010, 12:10am
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QUOTE(John Limey @ Thu 18th March 2010, 1:29am) *
The theory that Wikipedia has good content but bad editors is entirely incoherent.

In a real business or organization, some people become stale and are moved around to freshen them up; some people go bad and are fired. That can't, in the first place, and doesn't, in the second, really happen on the Pee-dia.

So the idea of a clean start of admins, and the exclusion of many classes of editor, is attractive ... but what would attract the right kind of material to produce a good Encyclopedia?

Like the man says, only money invested in qualifications.

As Churchill would have said, "It has been said that Wikipedia is the worst form of free encyclopedias created by unpaid volunteers except all the others that have been tried."

I was interested to see that Reuters.com had adopted the Mediawiki software for their journalist's handbook.
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GlassBeadGame
post Fri 19th March 2010, 1:07am
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QUOTE(John Limey @ Wed 17th March 2010, 7:29pm) *

The theory that Wikipedia has good content but bad editors is entirely incoherent.


Right because it has damaged editors and flawed content. This is because aspects inherent in the software (anonymity, atomized content, endless levels of topic focus, repetitive tasks carefully recorded and counted, automatic attribution of edits to accounts) plays to the pathology of those attracted to wikis. It creates a self destructive dynamic both for the editors and the content.
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John Limey
post Fri 19th March 2010, 7:48pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Fri 19th March 2010, 1:07am) *

QUOTE(John Limey @ Wed 17th March 2010, 7:29pm) *

The theory that Wikipedia has good content but bad editors is entirely incoherent.


Right because it has damaged editors and flawed content. This is because aspects inherent in the software (anonymity, atomized content, endless levels of topic focus, repetitive tasks carefully recorded and counted, automatic attribution of edits to accounts) plays to the pathology of those attracted to wikis. It creates a self destructive dynamic both for the editors and the content.


I think that's fairly true. Wikipedia's content is bad because it combines (generally) bad editors with an (always) bad structure. The occasional gems on Wikipedia are the result of more qualified people who do show up from time to time and somehow manage to dodge the bad structure.
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Straightforward
post Mon 22nd March 2010, 12:54pm
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QUOTE(John Limey @ Thu 18th March 2010, 4:51pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 18th March 2010, 1:14pm) *

QUOTE(WikiWatch @ Wed 17th March 2010, 8:47pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 18th March 2010, 1:41pm) *

People willing to spend countless amounts of time "building an encyclopedia" are in some sense aberrant and deformed.


I'm sure the people behind Britannica, World Book, and Encarta might disagree. Then again they got paid.


Emphasis added above

There you go.


Then again, many projects have not paid their contributors. None of the contributors to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, a resource of unsurpassed quality, were paid. Generally speaking, contributors to various specialized Encyclopedia of X variants are not paid either. They are experts who work as part of the general enterprise of academia or to spread knowledge or to advance their careers.

It is interesting to compare the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and its predecessor the Dictionary of National Biography, with Wikipedia. In both of them the articles on recently deceased people were frequently written by their relatives or friends. Even if not, there are often references to unpublished information obtained from relatives. This would of course not be allowed on Wikipedia under WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V. I have heard the author of an article on ODNB, a professional historian, criticise the article on DNB that he replaced (written by a friend of the subject) as "a complete white-wash".

I recently wrote to the ODNB pointing out differences between one of their articles and what was said in obituaries. They have referred it to the article author. I have no way of knowing what "the truth" is in this case or if it even exists, but the ODNB is not infallible.

While I have no doubt that the great majority of articles on the ODNB are of high standard, it is at least possible that in a few cases WP will be better.
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GlassBeadGame
post Mon 22nd March 2010, 1:01pm
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QUOTE(Straightforward @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 6:54am) *

QUOTE(John Limey @ Thu 18th March 2010, 4:51pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 18th March 2010, 1:14pm) *

QUOTE(WikiWatch @ Wed 17th March 2010, 8:47pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 18th March 2010, 1:41pm) *

People willing to spend countless amounts of time "building an encyclopedia" are in some sense aberrant and deformed.


I'm sure the people behind Britannica, World Book, and Encarta might disagree. Then again they got paid.


Emphasis added above

There you go.


Then again, many projects have not paid their contributors. None of the contributors to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, a resource of unsurpassed quality, were paid. Generally speaking, contributors to various specialized Encyclopedia of X variants are not paid either. They are experts who work as part of the general enterprise of academia or to spread knowledge or to advance their careers.

It is interesting to compare the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and its predecessor the Dictionary of National Biography, with Wikipedia. In both of them the articles on recently deceased people were frequently written by their relatives or friends. Even if not, there are often references to unpublished information obtained from relatives. This would of course not be allowed on Wikipedia under WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V. I have heard the author of an article on ODNB, a professional historian, criticise the article on DNB that he replaced (written by a friend of the subject) as "a complete white-wash".

I recently wrote to the ODNB pointing out differences between one of their articles and what was said in obituaries. They have referred it to the article author. I have no way of knowing what "the truth" is in this case or if it even exists, but the ODNB is not infallible.

While I have no doubt that the great majority of articles on the ODNB are of high standard, it is at least possible that in a few cases WP will be better.


If by better you mean they include drive by vandalism, baseless statements concerning the person's sexuality, images including genitalia "for comparison" and a detailed listing of any reference on Family Guy, The Simpsons and Futurmara I susppose.
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Tarc
post Mon 22nd March 2010, 1:08pm
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Wikipedia alternatives? There's always encyc.org. smile.gif
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NotARepublican55
post Mon 22nd March 2010, 2:11pm
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QUOTE(Straightforward @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 7:54am) *

This would of course not be allowed on Wikipedia under WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V.

RFLMAO! laugh.gif
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Emperor
post Mon 22nd March 2010, 6:40pm
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QUOTE(Tarc @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 9:08am) *

Wikipedia alternatives? There's always encyc.org. smile.gif


Thanks! We're getting there.
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Straightforward
post Tue 23rd March 2010, 12:48pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 1:01pm) *

QUOTE(Straightforward @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 6:54am) *

QUOTE(John Limey @ Thu 18th March 2010, 4:51pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 18th March 2010, 1:14pm) *

QUOTE(WikiWatch @ Wed 17th March 2010, 8:47pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 18th March 2010, 1:41pm) *

People willing to spend countless amounts of time "building an encyclopedia" are in some sense aberrant and deformed.


I'm sure the people behind Britannica, World Book, and Encarta might disagree. Then again they got paid.


Emphasis added above

There you go.


Then again, many projects have not paid their contributors. None of the contributors to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, a resource of unsurpassed quality, were paid. Generally speaking, contributors to various specialized Encyclopedia of X variants are not paid either. They are experts who work as part of the general enterprise of academia or to spread knowledge or to advance their careers.

It is interesting to compare the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and its predecessor the Dictionary of National Biography, with Wikipedia. In both of them the articles on recently deceased people were frequently written by their relatives or friends. Even if not, there are often references to unpublished information obtained from relatives. This would of course not be allowed on Wikipedia under WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V. I have heard the author of an article on ODNB, a professional historian, criticise the article on DNB that he replaced (written by a friend of the subject) as "a complete white-wash".

I recently wrote to the ODNB pointing out differences between one of their articles and what was said in obituaries. They have referred it to the article author. I have no way of knowing what "the truth" is in this case or if it even exists, but the ODNB is not infallible.

While I have no doubt that the great majority of articles on the ODNB are of high standard, it is at least possible that in a few cases WP will be better.


If by better you mean they include drive by vandalism, baseless statements concerning the person's sexuality, images including genitalia "for comparison" and a detailed listing of any reference on Family Guy, The Simpsons and Futurmara I susppose.

Come off it! I'm not an idiot and I'm well aware of the problems there are on WP and how even a good article can be damaged by vandals or silly editors. However, nor am I of the mindset that everything on WP is bad, even the good bits, and that anything else must be better. There are plenty of good biographies on WP, with no baseless statements concerning the person's sexuality, genitalia or Family Guy. Further, although ODNB is undoubtedly an excellent source it is far from perfect, especially for recently deceased people where often the article displays a distinct POV. Failure to recognise these points makes it difficult to criticise WP when it is bad, which is certainly fairly often.

Also, WP has plenty of articles on people who are notable and interesting yet have no ODNB articles. Conversely, I am surprised how many people have ODNB articles but no WP ones. Not that I'd say that on WP or people will just shout {{sofixit}}. The old DNB was even worse; it didn't even have an article on Stan Laurel. The ODNB plugged a lot of the more obvious holes. It also added articles on many women. Some would say that's because the DNB editors were male chauvinists who overlooked these women; others would suggest the ODNB is bending over backwards to be politically correct and have as many women as possible. My belief is that both these statements are true.




QUOTE(NotARepublican55 @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 2:11pm) *

QUOTE(Straightforward @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 7:54am) *

This would of course not be allowed on Wikipedia under WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V.

RFLMAO! laugh.gif

Surely if you are going to try to criticize Wikipedia you have to use these terms. They're pretty fundamental to the way the place works or at least is supposed to work. I should have added WP:COI of course.
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thekohser
post Tue 23rd March 2010, 3:09pm
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QUOTE(Straightforward @ Tue 23rd March 2010, 8:48am) *

Come off it! I'm not an idiot and I'm well aware of the problems there are on WP and how even a good article can be damaged by vandals or silly editors.


Straightforward, hear hear!

Now, could you please guide us on whether this person is a vandal or a silly editor?

Or, are you of the opinion that he wasn't "damaging" the article?

This post has been edited by thekohser: Tue 23rd March 2010, 3:10pm
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GlassBeadGame
post Thu 25th March 2010, 9:02pm
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QUOTE(Straightforward @ Tue 23rd March 2010, 6:48am) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 1:01pm) *

QUOTE(Straightforward @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 6:54am) *

QUOTE(John Limey @ Thu 18th March 2010, 4:51pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 18th March 2010, 1:14pm) *

QUOTE(WikiWatch @ Wed 17th March 2010, 8:47pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 18th March 2010, 1:41pm) *

People willing to spend countless amounts of time "building an encyclopedia" are in some sense aberrant and deformed.


I'm sure the people behind Britannica, World Book, and Encarta might disagree. Then again they got paid.


Emphasis added above

There you go.


Then again, many projects have not paid their contributors. None of the contributors to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, a resource of unsurpassed quality, were paid. Generally speaking, contributors to various specialized Encyclopedia of X variants are not paid either. They are experts who work as part of the general enterprise of academia or to spread knowledge or to advance their careers.

It is interesting to compare the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and its predecessor the Dictionary of National Biography, with Wikipedia. In both of them the articles on recently deceased people were frequently written by their relatives or friends. Even if not, there are often references to unpublished information obtained from relatives. This would of course not be allowed on Wikipedia under WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V. I have heard the author of an article on ODNB, a professional historian, criticise the article on DNB that he replaced (written by a friend of the subject) as "a complete white-wash".

I recently wrote to the ODNB pointing out differences between one of their articles and what was said in obituaries. They have referred it to the article author. I have no way of knowing what "the truth" is in this case or if it even exists, but the ODNB is not infallible.

While I have no doubt that the great majority of articles on the ODNB are of high standard, it is at least possible that in a few cases WP will be better.


If by better you mean they include drive by vandalism, baseless statements concerning the person's sexuality, images including genitalia "for comparison" and a detailed listing of any reference on Family Guy, The Simpsons and Futurmara I susppose.

Come off it! I'm not an idiot and I'm well aware of the problems there are on WP and how even a good article can be damaged by vandals or silly editors. However, nor am I of the mindset that everything on WP is bad, even the good bits, and that anything else must be better. There are plenty of good biographies on WP, with no baseless statements concerning the person's sexuality, genitalia or Family Guy. Further, although ODNB is undoubtedly an excellent source it is far from perfect, especially for recently deceased people where often the article displays a distinct POV. Failure to recognise these points makes it difficult to criticise WP when it is bad, which is certainly fairly often.

Also, WP has plenty of articles on people who are notable and interesting yet have no ODNB articles. Conversely, I am surprised how many people have ODNB articles but no WP ones. Not that I'd say that on WP or people will just shout {{sofixit}}. The old DNB was even worse; it didn't even have an article on Stan Laurel. The ODNB plugged a lot of the more obvious holes. It also added articles on many women. Some would say that's because the DNB editors were male chauvinists who overlooked these women; others would suggest the ODNB is bending over backwards to be politically correct and have as many women as possible. My belief is that both these statements are true.




QUOTE(NotARepublican55 @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 2:11pm) *

QUOTE(Straightforward @ Mon 22nd March 2010, 7:54am) *

This would of course not be allowed on Wikipedia under WP:NPOV, WP:RS and WP:V.

RFLMAO! laugh.gif

Surely if you are going to try to criticize Wikipedia you have to use these terms. They're pretty fundamental to the way the place works or at least is supposed to work. I should have added WP:COI of course.


In order to criticize Wikipedia you do not need to "use" those terms at all. You need only understand that the reason that WP uses watered down and tokenized TLAs is because it is helpful for the players to manipulate concepts they do not really understand. WP is not an encyclopedia but a simulation of an encyclopedia which permits people not capable of engaging in a sustained academic activity to pretend. That is why articles on serous writers have section son Futurama and the Simpsons. The same reason Sim City might have a nuclear reactor wedged between a casino and a hospital.
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Straightforward
post Fri 26th March 2010, 12:21pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 25th March 2010, 9:02pm) *

In order to criticize Wikipedia you do not need to "use" those terms at all. You need only understand that the reason that WP uses watered down and tokenized TLAs is because it is helpful for the players to manipulate concepts they do not really understand. WP is not an encyclopedia but a simulation of an encyclopedia which permits people not capable of engaging in a sustained academic activity to pretend. That is why articles on serous writers have section son Futurama and the Simpsons. The same reason Sim City might have a nuclear reactor wedged between a casino and a hospital.

Of course anyone can say "Wikipedia is a pile of shit" or worse without even looking at the site still less understanding how it works. I don't call that criticism. If the intention of this site is to have sensible, mature criticism of what is wrong (quite a lot) while not being blind to what is not wrong, what is even good (quite a lot) then you need to understand how it works. You need to edit and get involved in controversies and edit wars. I know that many people who do that end up getting blocked. Sometimes they even deserve it. When they don't deserve it but the blocking admin is incompetent then of course that's a good example of what's wrong with the site.

And of course many editors don't really understand the fundamental concepts like NPOV and RS (neither of which of course is a TLA). Some admins don't either and that's another example of what's wrong with the site. I have a theory that candidates for RfA should have to pass a theory and practical test like a driving test.
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Moulton
post Fri 26th March 2010, 12:53pm
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Well, I too had a silly notion that Wikipedians should learn the basics of Mass Media Ethics, but Jimbo vetoed that in no uncertain terms.
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Cock-up-over-conspiracy
post Fri 26th March 2010, 2:23pm
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QUOTE(Straightforward @ Fri 26th March 2010, 12:21pm) *
Of course anyone can say "Wikipedia is a pile of shit" or worse without even looking at the site still less understanding how it works. ... I have a theory that candidates for RfA should have to pass a theory and practical test like a driving test.

All good and right stuff, straightf ... but the Wikipedia is not the "success" it is (success in a kind of "bigur numbaz is betur" way) because it is good and right. That is the mistake many of us made. It is a success more because of what glassbead says, and because it aims somewhere between mediocrity and crap ... with a wide door open to ridiculousness. In fact, such unimaginable ridiculousness in areas primarily because most of its denizens have no idea of the parameters good and right that they regularly sail well beyond. Not at all.

As Barnum reminded us, there is a whole more mediocrity and crap than virtue and value, and more born every day.

Of course, there is also a difference between criticism and detraction.

Funnily enough, I would have put my self amongst the critics until recently but I am starting to tire of it all ... there are too many fault lines in its foundations and too many open sewers running across it gardens where the kids play. But it will keep on existing for a few more years at least until the funders all start to ask why they are paying for storing all that porn and idiotic trivialities.
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dogbiscuit
post Fri 26th March 2010, 2:36pm
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QUOTE(Straightforward @ Fri 26th March 2010, 12:21pm) *

And of course many editors don't really understand the fundamental concepts like NPOV and RS (neither of which of course is a TLA). Some admins don't either and that's another example of what's wrong with the site. I have a theory that candidates for RfA should have to pass a theory and practical test like a driving test.

Perhaps that sums up the problem: that people think that NPOV and RS are fundamental concepts. The fundamental concepts of an encyclopedia are surely far more basic, including trustworthiness and accuracy.

The interesting thing about Reliable Sourcest is how the policy has been distorted so that the Wikipedian version of reliable sources can be and has been moved far away from any real world definition - which rather suggests that it is not a fundamental concept.

It is an issue that has often been discussed: Wikipedians don't seem to realise that Wikipedian policies are not grounded in - for want of a better phrase - encyclopedia theory, but were evolved by interested parties who took control of policy statements to advance personal agendas on what encyclopedias should be about in their opinion. Take a look at policy discussions and you'll see a lot of evidence of how these policy discussions are not informed by the desire to evolve better articles, but are usually triggered by disputes.

If Wikipedia policy were grounded in real world concepts, then you might have a case, but trying to argue that you can only criticise Wikipedia from within its own distorted reality is fundamentally wrong.

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Moulton
post Fri 26th March 2010, 2:42pm
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My favorite alternative to Wikipedia is the monster-slaying game on Facebook, where my favorite monster to slay is the Reliable Sorceress.
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thekohser
post Fri 26th March 2010, 3:36pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Tue 23rd March 2010, 11:09am) *

QUOTE(Straightforward @ Tue 23rd March 2010, 8:48am) *

Come off it! I'm not an idiot and I'm well aware of the problems there are on WP and how even a good article can be damaged by vandals or silly editors.


Straightforward, hear hear!

Now, could you please guide us on whether this person is a vandal or a silly editor?

Or, are you of the opinion that he wasn't "damaging" the article?


You didn't answer my simple question, Straightforward. Once you can demonstrate your ability to engage on the simple questions, I will proceed on to the more complex questions.
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Straightforward
post Fri 26th March 2010, 11:59pm
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QUOTE(dogbiscuit @ Fri 26th March 2010, 2:36pm) *

QUOTE(Straightforward @ Fri 26th March 2010, 12:21pm) *

And of course many editors don't really understand the fundamental concepts like NPOV and RS (neither of which of course is a TLA). Some admins don't either and that's another example of what's wrong with the site. I have a theory that candidates for RfA should have to pass a theory and practical test like a driving test.

Perhaps that sums up the problem: that people think that NPOV and RS are fundamental concepts. The fundamental concepts of an encyclopedia are surely far more basic, including trustworthiness and accuracy.

The interesting thing about Reliable Sourcest is how the policy has been distorted so that the Wikipedian version of reliable sources can be and has been moved far away from any real world definition - which rather suggests that it is not a fundamental concept.

It is an issue that has often been discussed: Wikipedians don't seem to realise that Wikipedian policies are not grounded in - for want of a better phrase - encyclopedia theory, but were evolved by interested parties who took control of policy statements to advance personal agendas on what encyclopedias should be about in their opinion. Take a look at policy discussions and you'll see a lot of evidence of how these policy discussions are not informed by the desire to evolve better articles, but are usually triggered by disputes.

If Wikipedia policy were grounded in real world concepts, then you might have a case, but trying to argue that you can only criticise Wikipedia from within its own distorted reality is fundamentally wrong.

I quite agree that trustworthiness and accuracy are the things to aim for. But how do you achieve these targets? In writing a biography of a recently deceased and controversial figure do you get it by asking a close friend to write it and allow him to cite "personal information" (the Dictionary of National Biography approach)? Michael Foot will no doubt get an entry there in due course. Had his nephew Paul not unfortunately died already, would he have been asked? Maybe Tony Benn will write it.

No, surely the better approach is to insist that information is cited from trustworthy sources and from a range of sources to avoid the bias of citing only favourable or only unfavourable material. That is the essence of RS and NPOV. No, I don't like some of what is in WP:RS as it now stands. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the principle of asking for reliable sources. It means there is something wrong with the governance of the place that allows things to be twisted.

I don't believe that I am only seeing WP's twisted version of reality. Nobody could call me a Jimbo acolyte.
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GlassBeadGame
post Sat 27th March 2010, 1:08am
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QUOTE(Straightforward @ Fri 26th March 2010, 6:21am) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Thu 25th March 2010, 9:02pm) *

In order to criticize Wikipedia you do not need to "use" those terms at all. You need only understand that the reason that WP uses watered down and tokenized TLAs is because it is helpful for the players to manipulate concepts they do not really understand. WP is not an encyclopedia but a simulation of an encyclopedia which permits people not capable of engaging in a sustained academic activity to pretend. That is why articles on serous writers have section son Futurama and the Simpsons. The same reason Sim City might have a nuclear reactor wedged between a casino and a hospital.

Of course anyone can say "Wikipedia is a pile of shit" or worse without even looking at the site still less understanding how it works. I don't call that criticism. If the intention of this site is to have sensible, mature criticism of what is wrong (quite a lot) while not being blind to what is not wrong, what is even good (quite a lot) then you need to understand how it works. You need to edit and get involved in controversies and edit wars. I know that many people who do that end up getting blocked. Sometimes they even deserve it. When they don't deserve it but the blocking admin is incompetent then of course that's a good example of what's wrong with the site.

And of course many editors don't really understand the fundamental concepts like NPOV and RS (neither of which of course is a TLA). Some admins don't either and that's another example of what's wrong with the site. I have a theory that candidates for RfA should have to pass a theory and practical test like a driving test.


Your "sensible and mature"criticism accepts the manifest premises of WP hook-line-and-sinker. You're a moron who can't tell the difference between a simulation and reality. "You need to edit and get involved in controversies and edit wars" is probably the single worst piece of advice ever given to anyone on WR.

The most important characteristic of a game is to entertain the players. There are not going to be any competency exams anywhere around WP.
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thekohser
post Sat 27th March 2010, 4:17am
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Fri 26th March 2010, 11:36am) *

QUOTE(thekohser @ Tue 23rd March 2010, 11:09am) *

QUOTE(Straightforward @ Tue 23rd March 2010, 8:48am) *

Come off it! I'm not an idiot and I'm well aware of the problems there are on WP and how even a good article can be damaged by vandals or silly editors.


Straightforward, hear hear!

Now, could you please guide us on whether this person is a vandal or a silly editor?

Or, are you of the opinion that he wasn't "damaging" the article?


You didn't answer my simple question, Straightforward. Once you can demonstrate your ability to engage on the simple questions, I will proceed on to the more complex questions.


One more chance, Straightforward, before I put you on "ignore". I want to hear your assessment of User:Fram's edit.
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