[nSLUG] Wikipedia (Was: "Cat5e vs Cat6")

Richard Bonner ak621 at chebucto.ns.ca
Tue Nov 3 10:31:00 AST 2009

On Mon, 2 Nov 2009, Daniel Morrison wrote:

> 2009/11/2 Richard Bonner <ak621 at chebucto.ns.ca>:
>> ***   A number of years ago in the U.S., Wikipedia was used to falsely
>> discredit some political rival. I don't remember the details, but
>> believe that some page on some politician was subtly altered to imply
>> negative things.
>>   Until they get complete control over it, there's a good reason I
>> call it "Why? Ki-pedia".
> But who is "they"?

***   Those that have the website.

> And... if "they" had complete control over it, it
> wouldn't be wikipedia, would it? It would be another commercial
> encyclopedia, and it wouldn't be free.

***   Not necessarily.

> I'm not saying Wikipedia is perfect. There is a price to pay for a 
> comprehensive, free, modern knowledge database.

***   I agree. However, I believe that the true price has not yet 
been revealed, and I believe that price will be a negative one in too 
many instances.

>> That problem isn't unique to Wikipedia. That's why journals,
>> newspapers etc. publish retractions.
> ***   Does Why?-Ki publish them?
> Um, it's called the "history" tab, which shows every change ever made
> to any article. Also, there is the "talk" page, wherein there is
> discussion regarding changes. Far more accessible than a tiny "oops we
> made a mistake" in some future edition of a print publication.

***   Sounds good. Thanks for the heads up on those points. I rarely 
use the service other than as a basis to look elsewhere.

>> Wikipedia even cites Britannica. Obviously, the printed Britannica in
>> your parent's basement has no such update.
> ***   No, but at least it had editors overseeing every scrap of
> information going into it.
> You just don't get it, do you. There is an editor overseeing^H^H^H
> creating every scrap of information going into wikipedia. There is, in
> fact, orders of magnitude more of them. They're called "the public".
> Granted, they may have fewer scruples and more bias or blatant bad
> intent then many scholars.

***   ... and that is exactly my problem.

> But there are no guarantees in life. Do you
> believe everything written in Britannica? You shouldn't. How about
> everything in the Chronicle Herald? Yeah, right.

***   I have far more belief in Britannica than in daily newspapers,
especially since the latter's journalistic standards have fallen so 
much in the past decade or so.

> Again: Wikipedia isn't perfect. But it's an incredibly large and
> diverse public database of information that is freely accessible to
> everyone. No, you shouldn't blindly believe everything written in it.
> But you shouldn't blindly believe anything written by someone else. If
> you want guarantees that your information is 100%, there is only one
> way: research the topic yourself.
> -D.

***   Which is what I do. Of course, Why?-Ki turns up often during 
that research, so it's hard to ignore.

    Again, my problem is that too much of the public *will* believe 
what is written there as the truth.


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