QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Sun 9th March 2008, 8:51am)
Agreed. Any serious expert in semiotics (or any other academic field that gets ignored by the Wiki anime fans) would be wise to support a better-run online encyclopedia.
The one about descriptive linguistics is sad. In fact, the topics listed under Linguistics
are generally a mess. Some are really well-written and well-referenced, and some are useless.
I feel sorry for humanities students who think Wikipedia can let them be lazy about research.
(Meanwhile, film students can gorge themselves with micro-trivia about Buffy The Vampire Slayer
As has been noted, this is all because
1) Wikipedia reflects the interests of its editors
2) Academic types have better to do than work hard on Wikis (like publish under their own names or else perish)
3) Even when academics are drawn in by a 90% correct article to make a few fixes, they tend to run into people who would otherwise be their students or dropouts, and find to their shock that those people get as much say about the article as the academics do. Sometimes (by reason of Wikipower structure, with its rewards for wanking-time and brownnosing-history), even more power.
4) None of the above can be fixed without fixing WP's deeply-conflicted attitude toward expertise. On one hand, WP wants verifiability, not truth. On the other hand, it wants the verifiable sources to be "reliable" which means, er, that they should likely be "true" by any sense of that word we can agree on. Does not compute.
5) This latter conundrum is in no small part due to wikipedia's refusal to give up anonymity, which is the figleaf which allows its ignorant Eloi to continue to do the work, under the evil eyes of the underground Morlocks which actually run the damned thing.
And there we are. People like Sanger have proposed solutions, but there are other less drastic ones I can think of.
One would be to allow the "unwashed publick" (anon IPs and name-editors with only a short and non-vetted edit history) only to edit only an "temp edit version" of any article. All edits only show up 24 hours later, after somebody in trust has vetted them, all in one bunch. Meanwhile the mainspace article that shows up when people search a topic, only shows the last "stable" version, which has passed a pre-vet process. The job of doing the 24 hour (or whatever) vandal free "update" of stable versions, can be done by either old and trusted editors, or admins, or both, without special subject-knowledge, since this level is only to get rid of the vandals and jokers who want to see their work "up" like a spraypaint-tag, for however few minutes it now
takes for some editor or bot to revert it (and sometimes, as we all know, it can be longer). But this fixes 90% of the acruracy problems, right there. Yes, it removes immediate gratification, but perhaps by doing so, it will ALSO remove the work of people who can't wait 24 hours for gratification. Not an entirely bad thing. Of course, you can get gratification by watching the "temp" version change in realtime, just as now. But that lags what people "see" when they use the encyclopedia in search mode, by just a bit. It's all like moderated edited discussion boards-- I'm not re-inventing the wheel, here.
(Later edit-- well, there is ONE new thing proposed above, and that is the idea that after you edit, you can still see the new version and so can everybody else, even under my system. That's not true on message boards. This is a two-tier system where only the mildly-moderated article is "up" as "encyclopedic" or the "real" encyclopedia, but if you want, you can view the underneith "under-edit" version, and change it at any time, and so can anybody else. So there you see the quantum-foam and the vandalism in real-time. So, if you REALLY want to see the grossness of what Bismark called "sausages or laws being made" (many have used the metaphor for the present WP), then you can DO that. But under my proposal, THAT "under construction version" is not what's immediately presented to the public when they use the encyclopedia in "lookup" mode. So it's the difference between going to a funeral and actually going back to the mortuary prep room. Gosh, I'm big on death metaphors, lately. Probably part of disillusion.)
At the second level, we must have some people with true academic subject-matter-expertise, who volunteer to have their creds checked (this can be done) and to "promote" a stable version that passes their expert muster for subject-matter-error, every so often at longer intervals (times can be decided-- this depends on volunteer commitment). We don't demand that these people add content unless they want (that's asking too much). All we want is for them to remove stuff that is academically
wrong. That still leaves the "stub" problem due to lack of academic time commitment to write, but at least the little peer reviewed stubs will be "academically" acurate, and vandalism-free.
--MiltThis post has been edited by Milton Roe: Sun 9th March 2008, 9:18pm