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Wow! Read This About Wikipedia

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autolycus 12 Dec 05 - 07:23 PM
BuckMulligan 12 Dec 05 - 08:16 PM
GUEST 12 Dec 05 - 10:55 PM
BuckMulligan 13 Dec 05 - 12:47 PM
GUEST 13 Dec 05 - 12:50 PM
Don Firth 18 Dec 05 - 02:58 PM
Wolfgang 22 Dec 05 - 08:11 AM
Don Firth 22 Dec 05 - 03:58 PM
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Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
From: autolycus
Date: 12 Dec 05 - 07:23 PM

It still remains aproblem to know what sources count as reliable. Reference books carry errors - we all thought Encyclopedia Britannica was authoritative until Harvey Einbinder published The Myth of the Britannica(1964), showing how full of errors that great work was.
The latest Brewer's Dictionary has errors.
The US academics Boller and George, in "They Never Said It" uncover many misquotes, fake quotes and misattributions that even a work like the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations continues to repeat.
I have a shelf of books of Popular Fallacies, fallacies which are constantly repeated. For example,it's not the case, according to Professor Tom Burnam (The Dictionary of Misinformation, the the Declaration of Independence was signed on 4th of July (Hm - 4th of July - that'd be 4/7 then)   
Many reference compilers copy errors from other reference books.
World Almanac was still printing the idea as a fact that King John signed Magna Carta.
It can take time to see how different media skew things and why.
Melvyn Barg, in his In Our Time series on Radio 4, managed to do 45 minutes on te history of astronomy, and the same period on Isaac Newton, without, in that 90 minutes, mentioning astrology once. So one way to check on a source is to see what it leaves out, and those who know less than their source can be mislead out of ignorance.

My point is not that nothing is to be trusted - that would be ridiculous - but that getting the facts requires constant vigilance,and holding


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Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 12 Dec 05 - 08:16 PM

Right - but when one is conducting casual research, one plays the odds, and the odds are heavily on favor of the Britannica and the OED, etc. over Wiki-anything, and blogs. And the thing about poor old King John is a bit of a cavil; true he didn't write his name on it, but he did indeed "sign" it in the sense of "validated it by affixing his mark." I suspect one could find more than one source that would support that sense of the word "sign."


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Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 05 - 10:55 PM

I don't agree with your assertion. People mistrust open source information, because they are so certain that "experts" must be in control of information, in order for it to be legitimate.

People for whom open source is a godsend will be the new information *managers* not owners or controllers of information. Therein lies the difference.

If you love the status quo, and don't like having your "the world is the way I perceive it to be" boat rocked, then you will never trust open sources. Or vote for anyone except Democrats and Republicans, except to vote Libertarian, perhaps.

It isn't the accuracy or legitimacy of the information for status quo types (which the majority of Mudcatters are), it's about not trusting the "anonymous"--also known as we the people.

Like Is aid, the whole thing is a tempest in a teapot. The guy lost his job, wiki corrected the information as soon as they got wind of the story. You can't be any more accountable than that, as the New York Times and Washington Post and Fox News and Dan Rather, et al keep proving reliably.

It's kinda like the whole Rodney King trial thing. The jury refused to find the cops guilty, even when presented with incontrovertible proof of their guilt: the video. Yet, the jury found the cops innocent of all charges, and a city burned.

Belief systems are a damn hard thing to crack. For those who grew up believing that certain types of information and knowledge is better if it comes from authoritarian sources, then no amount of proving them wrong will change their minds, as this thread proves.


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Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
From: BuckMulligan
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 12:47 PM

I'm not sure whose assertion you're disagreeing with, but if you're claiming that there's something called "ownership" of facts, then I suspect there's very little we can dicsuss, as I don't speak Theory.


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Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 12:50 PM

Tell it to Rupert Murdoch.


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Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 02:58 PM

To reiterated what I posted above, I've found Wikipedia to be a valuable and very convenient resource. A couple of clicks and I'm there. I also use the Merriam-Webster online dictionary a lot for the same reason. I do, however, verify what I read in Wikipedia if anything about the article I'm checking strikes me as at all dubious. Googling makes this pretty easy. If everything I find on-line about whatever I'm working on makes me wonder a bit, I get up from the desk and go to the bookshelves—or make a trip to the library. But even that, it seems, can be caveat emptor.

I heard a radio interview about Wikipedia a couple of days ago. For those who consider Wikipedia to be "Wackypedia," you might want to take a look at THIS. It contains the same information I heard on the radio interview. If you own a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica and consider it to be the ultimate source of accurate information, superior to Wikipedia, you might want to think again. A thorough check demonstrates that EB and Wikipedia are about even-up. Except that Wikipedia has an immediate self-correcting feature. With EB, for corrections you have to wait for the next edition, and it's pretty pricey.

Also, pull up google, type in "Wikipedia accuracy," and you'll see an example of what Wikipedia does when it has an article that contains disputable information and what you can do about it.

Much too valuable a resource to be ignored or abandoned. But with any reference, you have to use your head as well.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
From: Wolfgang
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 08:11 AM

The Science magazine Nature has recently published a study in which the accuracy of the Britannica was compared with that of the Wikipedia in the realm of Science articles.

The Britannica had 3 errors or inaccuracies per article, Wikipedia had 4.

So, WP is quite reliable in the world of science. That fits with my impression too and I do not at all agree with those who say that WP cannot be relied upon. It depends on the context. WP is quite good in reporting in the factual fields. I find it reliable in sports too and many other fields. But when it comes to fields in which emotions and prejudices play a role you should not trust the contributors.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Wow! Read This About Wikipedia
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Dec 05 - 03:58 PM

The report also stated that whereas Wikipedia averaged four mistakes per article against Britannica's three, the articles in Wikipedia tend to be substantially longer, which gives scope for more possibilites for error. So all in all, it's pretty much a wash.

Don Firth


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