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> This Is Your Education On Wikipedia, Discussion Thread
Jon Awbrey
post Sat 15th January 2011, 6:42pm
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Discussion Thread for “This Is Your Education On Wikipedia

I'm going to try separating the discussion from the main topic — just an experiment to see if it helps me keep my brains from getting too scrambled. Feel free to post on whichever thread you find most convenient — I can always sort stuff out afterward.

Jon Awbrey
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SB_Johnny
post Wed 19th January 2011, 12:26pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 18th January 2011, 11:28pm) *

One of the lessons that my teachers impressed on my mind throughout my extended career as a student was that learning static facts is never enough, and even potentially misleading, if one fails to learn the dynamics of inquiry, the means by which that knowledge is produced.

Maybe it didn't have to be, but the way it's turned out in practice, the culture of those who promote Wikipedia is antithetical to everything I learned about learning.

The "new dynamics of inquiry" pretty much involves googling whatever it is you want to learn about, then coming up with some sort of amalgam that the first 4 or 5 sites seem to agree on. WP is pretty much the same thing, thought out loud.
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Kelly Martin
post Wed 19th January 2011, 3:14pm
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QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Wed 19th January 2011, 6:26am) *
The "new dynamics of inquiry" pretty much involves googling whatever it is you want to learn about, then coming up with some sort of amalgam that the first 4 or 5 sites seem to agree on. WP is pretty much the same thing, thought out loud.
To be fair, that's a large part of my work these days. The difference is that I tend to gravitate toward sites that I know from past experience are likely to be accurate, and then apply my own knowledge and experience in evaluating the merits of what I find, rather than just accepting whatever it is I find.

Wikipedians, by and large, seem unable (or perhaps merely unwilling) to do this reliably. Identifying why this is I think I shall leave as an exercise to the reader.
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SB_Johnny
post Wed 19th January 2011, 10:54pm
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QUOTE(Kelly Martin @ Wed 19th January 2011, 10:14am) *

QUOTE(SB_Johnny @ Wed 19th January 2011, 6:26am) *
The "new dynamics of inquiry" pretty much involves googling whatever it is you want to learn about, then coming up with some sort of amalgam that the first 4 or 5 sites seem to agree on. WP is pretty much the same thing, thought out loud.
To be fair, that's a large part of my work these days. The difference is that I tend to gravitate toward sites that I know from past experience are likely to be accurate, and then apply my own knowledge and experience in evaluating the merits of what I find, rather than just accepting whatever it is I find.

Wikipedians, by and large, seem unable (or perhaps merely unwilling) to do this reliably. Identifying why this is I think I shall leave as an exercise to the reader.

Right, but you got your education prior to WP and Google, which means you have a background education that the youngsters suffering from editcountitis probably don't have, and might not get.
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dogbiscuit
post Thu 20th January 2011, 6:06pm
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Could you run through Verifiability not Truth once more?
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Thu 20th January 2011, 4:28am) *

I think we all understand that there are many people of good will who edit Wikipedia. But good will is not what pervades the Wikipedia system as a whole. What pervades Wikipedia over and above everything else is a lack of desire for the truth.

I think this is a fine thread.

It is not just a lack of desire for the truth, it is that there is no desire for improving the state of knowledge through critical thinking in the public realm. Rational thought is banned from Wikipedia. Originally before the NOR policy, there was an opportunity to write something and have it stand either because the many Great Minds read it and Saw That It Was Good, or alternatively could debate and refine. In a simplistic way, there was the possibility of claiming that the corrective process of Wikipedia was peer review. Now the debate is purely about the mechanics of plagiarism, whether the work to be copied from is considered worthy.

NOR was not brought in for reasons of quality or knowledge or truth - it was an admission of failure, that the open editorial process could not withstand special interest groups. However, we have found that even with the policy in place, there is little improvement in defending against interest groups, the game's just a little harder to play, and the side effect is that truth and knowledge are considered of lesser importance than the copying of other people's work.
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Kelly Martin
post Thu 20th January 2011, 10:02pm
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"No Original Research" was originally penned in order to have a reason to exclude Timecube and Archimedes Plutonium from getting exposure on Wikipedia. (Ironically both now have articles, albeit only as Internet phenomena.) However, it has indeed acted to completely prevent Wikipedia from becoming the forum for the "great human debate" that it was, and even today often still is, held forth as having the potential to become. Rather than being a place where competing opinions are critically weighed against one another, it has become a place where competing opinions are thrown into a giant blender, and the resulting bland and unappetizing porridge (sprinkled liberally with cat turds and pebbles) is spoonfed to the unsuspecting, under the guise of providing knowledge.
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Jon Awbrey
post Thu 20th January 2011, 10:54pm
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When I first fell down the Wikipedia Rabid Hole, the Big Three Policies — WP:VER, WP:NPOV, WP:NOR — at least as written, and even as most educated adults interpreted them in practice, were still recognizable as not-too-idiosyncratic renditions of familiar norms of research, the ABCs of Accuracy, Balance, Confirmation.

Well, that was then — early 2006 or thereabouts — and some of you know what happened to make Wikipede Appallacy the unholy mess of hypocrisy that it is today.

The lyin's share of the warp was of course forced by SlimVirgin and her Cabal Of SlimVestal Interests.

But that whole sad tale makes me wik 'n' whirry, so maybe after Dinner and “Bones” …

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dogbiscuit
post Fri 21st January 2011, 9:41am
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Could you run through Verifiability not Truth once more?
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Milton's post elsewhere is worth adding to this mix:

http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=32677&st=40

QUOTE
As both Thomas Jefferson and Josh Billings said, the things that really hurt you aren't the things you don't know, so much as the things you know, that just aren't so.

WP, as a summation of "knowledge," makes no progress in this area. It summarizes the things people think they "know" that just aren't so (like acupuncture and "energy medicine") with the same zeal as it summarizes the most empirically tested and toughest scientific knowledge, like the conservation of momentum and energy, or the constancy of the speed of light.

I'm one of those people who think that WP neither hurts nor helps the cause of education, but is rather neutral, like television or the internet itself. Wikipedia is sort of like a pre-accumulator of trash, something I've likened to WALL*E, whose job it is to sort out a planet-load of crap (trash, junk, and treasure) into neat piles, but has no way of telling the diamonds and the Van Goghs, from the empty pop cans and egg shells. However, the sorting process is helpful. One MORE filter (the one Sanger first proposed) will convert the sorted mess into something amazing. Those of us who use our brains and other knowledge to do that NOW, find WP very useful. The problem is that we weren't trained in epistemology by reading Wikipedia. The next generation might not have that advantage. That's what worries Jon.

Every scientist, as part of their Ph.D. or (at least) post-doc training, has a moment when they stop being an epistemological virgin, and have one or more magical moments in which they realize that for one small item, ALL the experts are wrong. They've missed something, and their underwear is showing. And this can be demonstrated in a way that makes them all blush. At that moment the student becomes part of the club of masters.

WP isn't part of that experience. It's explicitly designed not to be. And if WP is all there is, where will future generations go to avoid remaining "40 year-old virgins" when it comes to knowledge?
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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 21st January 2011, 3:34pm
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As usual, Milton is way too bleary-eyed to see who he's waiting on and what he's serving, but nevermind that now — in my skool daze we had Magazine Sales and Moonies, but when it comes to Campus Scams, Wikipedia, with its Viral PR and its “campus ambassadors”, combines all the worst features of both. There's nothing neutral about that mix of con + cult.

Jon dry.gif
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Milton Roe
post Fri 21st January 2011, 8:43pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Fri 21st January 2011, 10:16am) *

Now, the thing that every generation ought to be thinking about is this: What are you going to do when those Authoritative, Respected, Trustworthy Sources (ARTS) are gone, or darn near impossible to find outside of an ARTS museum? Sure, you say, we'll just put that whole darn ARTS museum online, but who will have the skill and who will you trust to curate it?

— 21 Jan 2011 • Chron

The Night at the Museum, guard, obviously. Since the exhibits at WikiMuseum come to life on their own at night, and run around spouting historical inacuracies and doing unhistorical things, and it's all a huge mess in the morning.

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Jon Awbrey
post Sat 22nd January 2011, 5:16pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Thu 20th January 2011, 5:54pm) *

When I first fell down the Wikipedia Rabid Hole, the Big Three Policies — WP:VER, WP:NPOV, WP:NOR — at least as written, and even as most educated adults interpreted them in practice, were still recognizable as not-too-idiosyncratic renditions of familiar norms of research, the ABCs of Accuracy, Balance, Confirmation.

Well, that was then — early 2006 or thereabouts — and some of you know what happened to make Wikipede Appallacy the unholy mess of hypocrisy that it is today.

The lyin's share of the warp was of course forced by SlimVirgin and her Cabal Of SlimVestal Interests.

But that whole sad tale makes me wik 'n' whirry, so maybe after Dinner and “Bones” …

Jon Image


For those of you who just joined the program, I'll post a few links relating to the Warping of WP:NOR that started back in 2006. Some of the original pages were oversighted and others were moved out of sight, but here are the traces that I can still find.

Exhibit 1 • During the summer of 2006, SlimVirgin and her gang began an all-out assault to change the substance and interpretation of WP:NOR, especially its valuation of primary sources over secondary and tertiary sources. Naturally, they claimed that their POV was the one that had always been in place, and that the people who were trying to preserve the policy in its long-standing form were the ones who were trying to alter it. As a check on these claims, I began to collect datapoints from the history of WP:NOR and to cite them on the corresponding talk page. Longtime observers of Wikipedia will know what sort of monkey-business ensued by way of hiding any hint of real data and eliminating any editors who persisted in bringing it forth. My historical review got shoved to a subpage, the links to it deleted, and finally relegated to my user space — out of sight, out of mind — all against policy for talk page entries.

Exhibit 2 • Deletion Log record of a subsequent WP:NOR Discussion Subpage that SlimVirgin and Gang deleted but haven't yet oversighted.

QUOTE

A page with this title has previously been deleted.

If you are creating a new page with different content, please continue. If you are recreating a page similar to the previously deleted page, or are unsure, please first contact the deleting administrator using the information provided below.
  • 07:01, 18 November 2007 Jpgordon (talk | contribs) deleted "Wikipedia talk:No original research/Historical datapoints" ‎ (Fuck off, Awbrey.)
  • 17:36, 26 June 2007 SlimVirgin (talk | contribs) deleted "Wikipedia talk:No original research/Historical datapoints" ‎ (content was moved to subpage ages ago)
  • 21:51, 28 March 2007 Jayjg (talk | contribs) deleted "Wikipedia talk:No original research/Historical datapoints" ‎ (content was: '#REDIRECT User:Jon Awbrey/NOR historical datapoints' (and the only contributor was 'Jayjg'))
  • 21:51, 28 March 2007 Jayjg (talk | contribs) moved Wikipedia talk:No original research/Historical datapoints to User:Jon Awbrey/NOR historical datapoints ‎
  • 08:06, 8 February 2007 SlimVirgin (talk | contribs) deleted "Wikipedia talk:No original research/Historical datapoints" ‎ (content was: '#REDIRECT User:Jon Awbrey/NOR historical datapoints' (and the only contributor was 'SlimVirgin'))
  • 08:05, 8 February 2007 SlimVirgin (talk | contribs) moved Wikipedia talk:No original research/Historical datapoints to User:Jon Awbrey/NOR historical datapoints
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