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> Questioning Authority • Evaluating Wikipedia Articles, NYT • The Learning Network
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post Thu 3rd February 2011, 8:21pm
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Questioning Authority • Evaluating Wikipedia Articles

New York Times • The Learning Network
If Wikipedia is a collaborative project open to all, why are fewer than 15 percent of the site's …
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Jon Awbrey
post Thu 3rd February 2011, 9:50pm
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Some parents and real teachers had better start paying attention out there.

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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 4th February 2011, 12:28am
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Thu 3rd February 2011, 4:50pm) *

Some parents and real teachers had better start paying attention out there.

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Greg, I don't have much tolerance for tracking down government documents, but it seems like the last time I looked up the WMF's 501(‍c‍)3 category it specified something like “Adult Education”.

So why are they getting a tax break for mucking about with primary and secondary education?

Inquiring minds want to know …

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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 4th February 2011, 1:00am
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QUOTE

February 3, 2011 (7:56 pm) Link

“Activity | Review some of Wikipedia’s content criteria, so that students understand what makes for a quality article.”

Question 1 | Do these content criteria really determine what makes for a quality article?

Question 2 | Are these content criteria the same as those used in real-world communities of inquiry?

Question 3 | Do very many Wikipedia “editors” actually follow these content criteria in practice?

It seems to me that the proposers of this activity need some lessons in how to question assumptions.

— Jon Awbrey

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thekohser
post Fri 4th February 2011, 2:08am
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QUOTE
Activity | Check if Wikipedia tolerates pedophiles working among the children editors.

Here is Wikimedia Foundation executive Sue Gardner having a discussion last month with Derrick Coetzee:

commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sue Gardner and Derrick Coetzee in discussion, 2011-01-07.jpg

Here is Derrick Coetzee saying he strongly opposes any policy that would block self-avowed pedophiles from editing Wikipedia:

www.webcitation.org/5rgUllAJf

Teachers, are your students older than the target age of the pedophiles who are welcomed on Wikipedia?

Gregory Kohs


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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 4th February 2011, 4:48am
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Re:
New York Times : Room for Debate
Where Are the Women in Wikipedia?
Susan C. Herring : A Difference of Communication Styles

QUOTE

Like it's a Big Shocker, I suspect the statistics are comparable to the percentage of women who participate in online games and street gangs, those being the closest approximations to Wikipediot Culture in the outside world.

But more importantly, it's almost Friday, and truly pro-active thinkers should be trying to anticipate what sort of Viral Media Blintz — yes, I know how I spelled it — will be coming down the Wiki-Pike from your friendly internet spammers at the Wikimedia Foundation.

— Jon Awbrey • February 3, 2011 (11:32 pm) Link

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post Fri 4th February 2011, 3:00pm
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QUOTE

I would not say that Hambouz and Epstein-Ojalvo have done a terrible job with this lesson plan. It is especially admirable that they refer students and teachers to alternative resources for learning about and actually building wiki environments.

But there is much to be criticized in their way of inviting students and teachers to engage in critical thinking about the stories that we read in the media, including Wikipedia and The New York Times.

First off, thinking critically is better described as “questioning assumptions” than it is as “questioning authority”. After all, “authority” is a very ambiguous word. It can mean that the person speaking “knows what he or she is talking about”, that is, has a lot of experience with the subject at hand. Or it can mean that a person has the power to compel specific actions on our parts. Either way, there is a lot to think about in the heat of the moment before we question that authority, especially if “questioning” is interpreted as ignoring or failing to give due cognizance, as opposed to simply inquiring into.

So what are some of the assumptions — in the way of assumptions, not always stated outright — that we need to question as we read the several stories and lesson plans at hand?

— Jon Awbrey • February 4, 2011 (9:48 am) Link

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Milton Roe
post Fri 4th February 2011, 6:58pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Fri 4th February 2011, 8:00am) *

QUOTE

First off, thinking critically is better described as “questioning assumptions” than it is as “questioning authority”. After all, “authority” is a very ambiguous word. It can mean that the person speaking “knows what he or she is talking about”, that is, has a lot of experience with the subject at hand. Or it can mean that a person has the power to compel specific actions on our parts. Either way, there is a lot to think about in the heat of the moment before we question that authority, especially if “questioning” is interpreted as ignoring or failing to give due cognizance, as opposed to simply inquiring into.
— Jon Awbrey



Very, very good, and a point we've made here on WR plenty of times. The difference in the two types of "authority" is rarely discussed in pop culture, because we use the same word for both types, but the authority-of-expertise (Gary Kasparov is an authority on chess) is not at all the same thing as the authority the grows from the barrel of a gun.

And actually, there's a type of authority that comes from ownership, but it breaks down into authority over your body and your chattle property, which is quite different from your (limited) authority to tell people what they can do inside "your" house or upon "your" land, unless they'd like to be told to leave. Tha "authority" over real-property turns out to be more closely related to the "authority-of-force" than the other type, even in "democratic" societies. The ultimate reason being that ownership of land is impossible to define except by force, while ownership of chattle property or one's own body can be enforced by deception, trickery and (ultimately) by flight, even if one is outgunned. Real property, being "tacked down" is stuck needing a purely political and communal solution. And that tends to involve force, since (as I've commented) nobody has really come up with anything better.

When 60 Minutes asks Assange if he has "a problem with authority" he should have asked what type they meant. Perhaps he did (he said he was a libertarian, but not an anarchist) but that's a long conversation. Non anarchist libertarians seek to minimize the authority-of-force in the world, but recognize that it can't be made to disappear. Steve Croft has probably never even thought about it much.
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post Fri 4th February 2011, 7:34pm
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QUOTE
February 4, 2011 2:31 pm Link

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I find it interesting that I brought up a pointed concern about the safety of children who deeply interact with the editing process on Wikipedia (yes, I used the “p” word). But, even though I backed my statement with concrete facts to support my concern, the New York Times moderator elected not to publish my comment. Is this because the New York Times doesn’t care about the welfare of school children, or is it that they don’t want to address the uncomfortable aspects of anonymous, unaccountable “knowledge building”? -- Gregory Kohs
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Jon Awbrey
post Sat 5th February 2011, 3:38am
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Re:
New York Times : Room for Debate
Where Are the Women in Wikipedia?
Henry Etzkowitz and Marina Ranga : Nerd Avoidance

QUOTE

Being an old-fangled Peirce-James-Dewey pragmatist, I strongly believe in a life of learning by doing.

And what I see the “Common 87% Man” doing and learning in Wikiputia is more than anything else an unexamined life of moral and intellectual cowardice.

Whether it's by nature or by accident I don't really care, but I can hardly help but rejoice that any fraction of humanity is spared that manner of learning by doing.

— Jon Awbrey • February 4, 2011 (8:18 pm)

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post Fri 11th February 2011, 3:22pm
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Re:
New York Times : Room for Debate
Where Are the Women in Wikipedia?
Henry Etzkowitz and Marina Ranga : Nerd Avoidance

Best Comment —

QUOTE

I'm a woman who contributed briefly to Wikipedia. What I found was that it was overrun [with] administrators who rivalled Robespierre in their humor quotient. Who the hell needs it? Not me. I don't mind a flame war once in a while, but the selfseriousness is too much.

I keep this in mind, by the way, when I read Wikipedia entries. The smartest people I've known have all been very funny, and Wikipedia is … not funny. So I assume that these things have been written by young shut-ins with a lot of time on their hands, and not really enough sense when it comes to proportion or how things go in life. Often the most useful things are the links.

— Amy • February 9, 2011 (5:48 pm)

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post Sun 20th February 2011, 6:40pm
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QUOTE(Newsfeed @ Thu 3rd February 2011, 3:21pm) *

Questioning Authority : Evaluating Wikipedia Articles

The Learning Network • New York Times
If Wikipedia is a collaborative project open to all, why are fewer than 15 percent of the site's …


QUOTE

9. February 20, 2011 2:13 am Link

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Update. There are now several threads at The Wikipedia Review on this and related topics:

1. Wikipedia Women Facebook Group — http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=33052
2. WMF GenderGap Discussion Forum — http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=33040
3. Concern About Porn On Wikipedia — http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=33021
4. Media Coverage Around The World — http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=32780

— Jon Awbrey

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post Sun 20th February 2011, 7:02pm
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Fri 11th February 2011, 8:22am) *

Best Comment —

QUOTE

I'm a woman who contributed briefly to Wikipedia. What I found was that it was overrun [with] administrators who rivalled Robespierre in their humor quotient. Who the hell needs it? Not me. I don't mind a flame war once in a while, but the selfseriousness is too much.

I keep this in mind, by the way, when I read Wikipedia entries. The smartest people I've known have all been very funny, and Wikipedia is … not funny. So I assume that these things have been written by young shut-ins with a lot of time on their hands, and not really enough sense when it comes to proportion or how things go in life. Often the most useful things are the links.

— Amy • February 9, 2011 (5:48 pm)

That is interesting, and I think we've all noticed much the same thing on WR. Wikipedia is a humor-free zone. The poor Fat Man Who Finally Was Kicked Out tried, erm, manfully on his TALK page to keep some sense of irony alive at WP, but it simply wasn't getting enough water and sun, and finally wilted and died. A chief difference between WR and WP is that humor is permitted on WR.

My own theory of humor (caution, OR), is that it's much like taste and smell in food, or pleasurable feelings during sex. Nature gave it to us for a purpose, and like all things evolution gave us, the purpose is survival and reproduction. Humor seems to be targetted at keeping us interested in raising our children with their LOOOONG childhoods, long after the sex is over. Humor is what children do, from slapstick to pratfall to malapropism. And irony is that mode we get into when talking about children, in which contrast what they don't know, with what they SHOULD and NEED to know. And it's endlessly entertaining.

For reasons related to their more primary role in child-care (at least young child care) I think women need humor like oxygen (if you find me a group of women having a conversation who are not in mourning, I will show you that they will be laughing about something), but some men are capable of existing entirely without humor. They are more interested in stories of achievement. Men like to organize into military-style groups where authority is arbitrary or based on skill with weapons, and that kind of a culture is usually outraged by most types of humor. Most military humor is enlisted men laughing at officers, as they try to be parents, but end up behaving like children. And it's a pretty cruel humor, as well.

What remains for men is a sort of practical-joke humor, which seems to involve putting other creatures (sometimes older male children, in manhood ordeals) into uncomfortable situations, then being amused at their struggles and perhaps pain in trying to escape (I am in mind of stories of Huron Native Americans who laughed uproariously, primarily when prisoners were being tortured). That's the one kind of humor that women don't enjoy as much, although they can if it's very, very gentle (I have seen mothers laugh at their own two-year-olds falling on their faces, but not if the child is hurt). Which is a shame, since (if you look carefully) the rather vicious practical joke is one kind of humor that you actually CAN find on Wikipedia. huh.gif

Plus, I admit that WP generates its own irony, but in order to see it spelled out without a lot of work, you have to go to Wikipedia Review. happy.gif
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