The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #86832   Message #1620387
Posted By: Grab
05-Dec-05 - 09:49 AM
Thread Name: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
As far as "required corrections" goes, do it yourself! ;-) This guy could have fixed the entry himself. As a backstop position, he could have contacted the admins and said "I don't know how to fix it myself, so please can you do it?"

As far as "someone's head on the block", if this muppet had really cared then he *would* have got himself a court order against Bell South; Bell South *would* have given him chapter and verse on whoever it was; and he'd then be at liberty to start proceedings against whoever it was. He calls it a "remote possibility" - in fact it's 100% solid incontrovertible fact, because it's happened several times before. The whole reason they need a court order first is that ISPs were originally handing over info on their customers (name, address, DOB, SSN, etc.) to pretty much anyone who contacted them, and that was plainly unworkable.

So in short, if you're looking for a culpable entity for websites, the system is in place today, and it works!!! That's why I say this guy was only in it for self-publicity - had he cared in any way about following any path towards solving this, he could have done so. Instead he writes a bitchy editorial. That's a very English solution, bitching about things instead of solving them. ;-) But I'd expect more from a self-confident American, especially an American who's supposedly been smart enough to be in the US government, set up some lobbying foundation, and be a journalist.

For health advice and legal information, I'd use Wikipedia as a first point of reference, but I wouldn't assume it's authorative. As a volunteer-led effort, with varying qualities of volunteers, that would be stupid. However, I would be prepared to use it as a preliminary reference, and I would expect the links to point to more detailed (and official, if necessary!) points of reference. Legal-wise, for example, citing specific parts of the US Constitution for US legal issues would be a good start. If I was concerned, I'd also check the history of the information on that page and see what's happened over the last few edits, in case it's been vandalised.

People have been doing the whole "what if it was all corrupted by some troll?" thing since Wikipedia started. But Wikipedia's still going, and is still mostly worth it. There's a large number of people who keep an eye on changes in their particular areas. Less frequently visited areas (such as pages about some obscure bloke from the Kennedy administration) may get missed, but most of it is tracked pretty closely.

And if they specialised, how would they still be useful? The DT quite clearly attempted to include every piece of folk music that wasn't under copyright. It wouldn't be much use if it only included sea shanties, for instance. Similarly, an encyclopedia that doesn't provide a wide knowledge base is worthless. As far as formal reviewing goes, you're assuming an intention in the planned structure of Wikipedia which simply isn't there. And if you're smart, you use Wikipedia with that knowledge in mind.