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Wikipedia Editing Changes Called "Unworkable" by Critics
engine




msg:3834800
 4:21 pm on Jan 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

Wikipedia Editing Changes Sparks Calls As "Unworkable" [news.bbc.co.uk]
The online user-generated encyclopaedia Wikipedia is considering a radical change to how it is run.

It is proposing a review of the rules, that would see revisions being approved before they were added to the site.

In a blog entry, Mr Wales said the "nonsense" of the false reports would have been "100% prevented by Flagged Revision" and said he wanted the changes to be implemented as soon as possible. However, this posting caused a storm of comments on his site, with many editors saying the proposal was unworkable.


 

Shaddows




msg:3837251
 11:05 am on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

TBH, if the US Gov is reading knols, it will have only been for the last week or so.

Ok, G wont be evil. It said so, and who am I to disagree.

But for arguments sake, if a hypothetical great big behemoth company began to contol the videos you watch, choose what information you are given when you search for it, control the source of reference information, gather personal data through a variety of outlets AND began to influence those who set laws while asking you to store all your personal information in the cloud, on its servers- are you saying there is no risk?
Would you want MS doing it?
What happens when the founders quit G, will the next generation be so benevolent?

I'm not typically your tinfoil brigade member, but just consider what Google could do if it so tried.

Quadrille




msg:3837272
 11:37 am on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Almost every company on the planet has access to infomation that perhaps they shouldn't - including most members here (yes, even me).

Just because Google has more than most - though probably not anything like as much important info as, say, banks - it does not automatically follow that they are the most likely to do harm with it.

Yes they could. So could you, so could I; but on currently available info, knowing that my search pattern is hardly likely to worry the pentagon or even my mum, I can think of many, many organisations (including my 'formal' employer), that I trust much less than Google.

Size really isn't everything. Save the tin foil for those who have already shown they are evil. And remember that 99.999999999% of Google's info is never seen by a human being, and probably couldn't be.

For most of us, an individual stalker, blackmailer, ex-partner or line manager is much, much, more of a threat than Google could even imagine.

Shaddows




msg:3837281
 11:50 am on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

How boring and prosaic, throwing cold water on my conspiracy rant.

Whats this about real people posing a threat. How can conspiracy theories survive and thrive when the malefactor isn't easily identifiable by the audience you seek to co-opt.

I shall not be turned by your faultless reasoning and persuasive argument. THEY will get you and then you'll see. Mwahahaha

Quadrille




msg:3837288
 12:03 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Apologies; I was as much a fan of Patrick McGoohan and "The Prisoner" as the next man - until the next man stole my video collection :)

HRoth




msg:3837510
 4:59 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

"Whether you trust it or not is your choice, that is why all the references are provided and there is superscript all over the place."

I gave up on Wikipedia after something I actually am an expert on and on which I provided blocks of original text with numerous references to peer-reviewed journal articles was continually totally trashed by a guy who intends to set us slobs straight about how terrible homeopathy is and who has gone through systematically vandalizing hundreds of Wikipedia articles on subjects having nothing to do with it just so he can put this ideology of his forward. I don't even have any opinion about homeopathy one way or the other, but to see someone do this and not be stopped, who does nothing but delete valid information and write propaganda, well, why should I waste my time and my knowledge? Most people have other things to do besides update Wikipedia, but shills and kooks don't. That's why Wikipedia is going to continue to be dominated by shill and kook content.

Let them eat pap.

hutcheson




msg:3837683
 7:38 pm on Jan 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

I looked at knol, on a subject that I can fairly claim to know something about.

Now, I don't edit much at wikipedia because I have too much respect for it. But it will be a long time before that's a problem at knol.

Web_Student




msg:3838105
 11:00 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

My first, last, one, and only contribution to Wikipedia resulted in...

- My account beling labled a Single Purpose Account
- The accusation that I was a "sock puppet"
- A revert within, I think it was, 2 minutes
- My account being disabled by the powers that be

And I forget what else.

There was...

- Zero profanity.
- Zero vandalism.
- As best I am able to observe, complete accuracy in the contribution (which can be verified by examining their own system)

...but, not popular with certain on-the-ins people there (who were, interestingly enough, involved in the discussion in question).

To this day, the guy who did that (i.e., the 2-minute revert and had my account cancled) still does not believe that I exist. He thinks I'm somebody else, who was faking an ID on their system. His mind will never change.

Those children have significant problems.

If you are a student at a reputable academic institution, please understand that your professors' refusal to accept that site is founded in good sense.

From that experience, I do not trust what I read on wikipedia, and I want to stay as far away from the leaders of that enterprise as I can.

"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others"
(James Orwell, Animal Farm; and it really fits here)

[edited by: Web_Student at 11:03 am (utc) on Jan. 30, 2009]

Shaddows




msg:3838120
 11:23 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

"(James Orwell, Animal Farm; and it really fits here)"
George, surely?

[edited by: Shaddows at 11:24 am (utc) on Jan. 30, 2009]

Yoshimi




msg:3838127
 11:38 am on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

No it's James wikipedia says so!

Quadrille




msg:3838582
 8:57 pm on Jan 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, he was wrong all those years. I blame his publishers.

Web_Student




msg:3838810
 6:10 am on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

ACK !

"...Allowable time to edit post has past..."

If only this place was wikipedia, then I could avoid responsibility for my own errors, and quash all dissenting comments from you guys who have (accurately) pointed out that I am (clearly, and obviously) wrong.

Quadrille




msg:3838868
 9:34 am on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

If only this place was Wikipedia, then we could hunt you down, accuse you of vandalism, bad haircut (or worse), and ban you for life (or longer), for making a simple error.

If you dared to try and defend yourself, we could set Josey Wales on you. Or was that Jimmy Wales? This is FOO, isn't it ;)

How about this new slogan for Wikipedia:

"Some Errors Are More Equal Than Others"

pageoneresults




msg:3838904
 1:59 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

That question is irrelevant (regardless of whether there is anything better or not, Wikipedia has never been authoritative/trusted source and never will be, unless the reader is insane).

Some pretty harsh Wiki Critics in this topic. ;)

Those types of statements usually fall on deaf ears though. The Wiki "is" an authoritative and trusted source for millions of people. I'm sure the powers at be could care less if there are a handful who are not satisfied with the content on the Wiki. For the most part, it is accurate and of value for those performing research.

The whole argument about educational institutions not accepting content from the Wiki is a moot point. How the heck are they going to know where the content came from? Surely the student isn't going to make reference to the Wiki knowing that it is forbidden, are they?

I've participated at forums since the 90s. I've seen these types of topics roll through communities on a regular basis. It is par for the course. In this case we have change coming forth and people are usually resistant to change. And of course these topics will draw all the critics as this is a great opportunity to drag the victim further over the coals.

Is the Wiki really that bad? Or, are we talking about a few sections where there are some challenges afoot with editors? If that is the case, take your complaints and submit them through the proper channels at the Wiki and see if you can get them addressed there.

This topic reads like an old ODP discussion, it really does.

Quadrille




msg:3838909
 2:17 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

For the most part, it is accurate and of value for those performing research.

Exactly; perfectly true - but which parts?

are we talking about a few sections where there are some challenges afoot with editors? If that is the case, take your complaints and submit them through the proper channels at the Wiki and see if you can get them addressed there.

That's the point made by several people - complaints often fall on deaf ears

This topic reads like an old ODP discussion, it really does.

Is that such a surprise? Many 'volunteer -run' orgs fall into the same traps, and have the same limitations, as well as similar strengths. Obsessive territoriality, refusal to negotiate or ever see another POV are some of the pitfalls that all such orgs should be watching for. And I'm not even talking about corruption, which is rare, but can do untold damage.

And, of course, personal loyalties can also do damage, whether it's Skrenta, Josey Wales or some meta editor who has favorites and personal cult which defies all criticism from outside for months (in one ODP case, two years). And who can forget Laisha

Volunteer orgs, just like the priesthood, rarely seem to 'get it' that hiding bad eggs under the carpet leaves a bad smell.

Having said all that, I use wiki a lot, and like it - it's often my first port of call. But I would not use it as the final word on something that mattered. Because I'm not insane. OK, that's debatable! ;)

As it happens, I also use downstream ODP info too, and 99% of it is excellent stuff. But that 1% still leads me to double check on some occasions.

Quadrille




msg:3838910
 2:22 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

... And complaining has consequences. You can get blacklisted at WikiP if you complain about a trusted editor, regardless of the strength of your case, and you can get perfectly good sites blacklisted and removed from ODP, too, if certain people decide you are a 'troublemaker'.

The web is not short of examples of both.

ken_b




msg:3838924
 2:41 pm on Jan 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

The Wiki "is" an authoritative and trusted source for millions of people.

That may be, ...

but it doesn't mean the Wiki actually is authoritative, or trustworthy.

Web_Student




msg:3841994
 12:09 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

take your complaints and submit them through the proper channels at the Wiki and see

I took my complaint and submitted it to the "proper" channels. This is what I saw...

  • I saw my Contribution reverted in 2 minutes flat
  • I saw that Revert done by one of the participants in the conversation
  • I saw Accusations that I was a sock puppet
  • I saw My account Labeled as a single purpose account
  • I saw My account disabled; I think it was the very same day

Always remember: on Wikipedia, NPOV is absolute and non-negotiable. They say so themselves, and I've seen exactly how dedicated they are in that respect. It was, in fact, the very first personal experience I had with them.

Those guys really are smart. By disabling my account on day 1, after my first post, they absolutely proved to the world that they were correct; it really was a single purpose account. See ? It only had one post, and never had another one.

That's NPOV, absolute and non-negotiable; wikipedia style.

Absolutely no question or argument about it. (If so, your account is disabled and your edits are immediately reverted before anyone ever gets to see them)

Yes, there are indeed some pretty harsh Wiki Critics in this topic.

Please keep your eyes open and your wits about you when involved with that organization. I predict that, if you do so, then within some unspecified and unpredictable time in the future, you too will also lean toward the attitudes of the harsh wiki critics you are seeing here.

Please be careful. I am convinced that you are being misled.

By using fascinating new facts and knowledge from a vast and seemingly endless source of (what they want everyone to believe is their) world-wide human knowledge network, these people are able to distract your intellect and curiosity (which are probably quite higher and more keen than the median human in our society) to the point that you are led away from analysis of the integrity factors that are at the foundation of that organization.

Proper channels; yeah.

I strongly encourage you again: please be extremely careful with the time you allot to wikipedia. It will, in the end, pay you back; and I don't think you'll like the dividends.

inactivist




msg:3844609
 7:22 pm on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

I consider Wikipedia to be (partially) trustworthy and (partially) authoritative for one topic only: "Web Colors". So far, the info on that page has worked every time I've used it.

I treat everything else I find on Wikipedia as suspect and needing verification.

Funny, though: the web colors article has been flagged as not meeting their standards. Hm...

HRoth




msg:3845190
 10:07 pm on Feb 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

"The whole argument about educational institutions not accepting content from the Wiki is a moot point. How the heck are they going to know where the content came from?"

Nowadays, the use of plagiarism-checking software is the rule in high schools and colleges, so that is not an issue.

I am not opposed to Wikipedia because it represents change. In fact, that is precisely why I wanted to participate in it and did so. I thought it was a neat idea. I found out, though, that the change it represents is negative. The implication is that because anyone can edit Wikipedia, all the varying viewpoints should balance each other out. Great idea, but everyone doesn't have equal time to edit Wikipedia. The ones who have the time to do things like constantly revert edits on Wikipedia are those who are either being paid specifically to do that or who are crazy. The influence of kooks and shills is huge there. That is indeed change over a traditional encyclopedia.

My experience was not as bad as as Web_Student's, but I was also told that if I changed text again to include referenced articles from peer-reviewed journals refuting the kook's claims about the terribleness of homeopathy in relationship to the subject of the entry, my account would be disabled for a week. All comments I made in discussion were deleted by the kook. He had endless amounts of time and kook energy to engage in his crusade. I didn't. But time wins at Wikipedia, not knowledge.

cornwall




msg:3845549
 1:06 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

This topic reads like an old ODP discussion, it really does.

He had endless amounts of time and kook energy to engage in his crusade. I didn't. But time wins at Wikipedia, not knowledge.

I guess those two quotes say it all. It is not commercially viable (yet) to run site like ODP or Wikipedia "professionally", in the sense of paid and accountable managers supervising it.

The basic idea is great, get free "experts" to add their bit. But life does not work like that, the "kooks" with time on their hands move in, and become important and dictatorial, and the experts without time on their hands move out. It happened with directories before ODP, it happened with ODP and it happens with Wikipedia.

With most subjects "kookiness" does not impinge, but in a number it does - anything from Darwin to politics, religion to celebrities. Every so often one hears that John Doe, senior person at one of these sites, has been outed as being a Scientologist or whatever riding shotgun over one or more pages concerning that subject. Political parties do it with "their peoples" pages.

But for most subjects, as I say, the entries are usually fair and objective. What can you or I do about the bad editors? Honest answer is nothing at all. We cannot change them or the system.

Juvenal said a long time ago "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? " (who will guard the guards?) - and in the case of Wikipedia, there is nobody.

Quadrille




msg:3845597
 2:15 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

But for most subjects, as I say, the entries are usually fair and objective.

I'm sure - but other than the obvious candidates, such as religion, politics and, er, candidates - who say for sure that an entry is fair and objective?

Josey Wales argues that wiki is over 99.9% accurate, which is almost certainly correct, but no help at all if the page you happen to need includes some 100% inaccuracies.

It's not the obvious inaccuracies that are hurting Wikipedia's trust, but the hidden ones.

HRoth




msg:3845808
 7:36 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I do not believe that Wikipedia is 99.9% accurate. I have seen enormous innaccuracies in many of the plant entries, for instance. A lot of people editing it think they know something, but all they know is what they read on the web. Yikes.

[edited by: HRoth at 7:37 pm (utc) on Feb. 9, 2009]

cornwall




msg:3847406
 6:52 pm on Feb 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

Another nice one today on political altering of Wikipedia entries.

The bbc reports [news.bbc.co.uk] that a Conservative Party Central Office employee altered Titian (the painter)'s age on Wikipedia so that Mr Cameron (the Conservative leader) looked correct when he had mocked Mr Brown (British Prime Minister) for allegedly getting Titian's age wrong. In fact Mr Brown had been right and Mr Cameron wrong.

I guess journalists take the easy route and assume Wikipedia is the fount of all wisdom, and he who controls pages on Wikipedia therefore controls the press.

the page was changed by someone registered as being at the Conservative Party's HQ in London.

You do wonder how politicians can be so stupid as to do the deed from their own offices!

Shaddows




msg:3847857
 11:46 am on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Why wouldn't you just phone your friend elsewhere to change it for you? Bet it was a 'researcher' (read: soon-to-be career-politician)

Of course, Wikipedian editors look like a bastion of objectivity when compared to the James "I'm sacking my risk manager while non-exec of FSA" Crosby resignation

Quadrille




msg:3847886
 12:21 pm on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

I do not believe that Wikipedia is 99.9% accurate. I have seen enormous innaccuracies in many of the plant entries, for instance.

I've seen some horrendous inaccuracies too - but much of what I've seen is spot on - and very up to date. We do tend to notice the 'wrong', and maybe not so much the 'right'.

For me the problem isn't so much the amount of 'wrong' (which I believe to be very small), but the fact we cannot tell - and the worrying 'ownership' that wiki allows to favoured editors, with no real right of appeal.

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