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BS: Wikipediaists?

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Peter T. 08 Jan 06 - 12:48 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 06 - 10:11 AM
GUEST 08 Jan 06 - 10:31 AM
GUEST 08 Jan 06 - 10:33 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 06 - 12:31 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 08 Jan 06 - 12:50 PM
Don Firth 08 Jan 06 - 01:06 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 08 Jan 06 - 01:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 06 - 01:24 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 08 Jan 06 - 01:58 PM
CarolC 08 Jan 06 - 02:28 PM
CarolC 08 Jan 06 - 02:33 PM
Don Firth 08 Jan 06 - 02:45 PM
CarolC 08 Jan 06 - 03:03 PM
Melani 08 Jan 06 - 04:29 PM
Ebbie 08 Jan 06 - 08:45 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 06 - 08:56 PM
Peter T. 09 Jan 06 - 09:43 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 09 Jan 06 - 10:21 AM
GUEST 10 Jan 06 - 08:14 AM
Naemanson 10 Jan 06 - 06:38 PM
Snuffy 10 Jan 06 - 07:54 PM
Amos 10 Jan 06 - 08:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Jan 06 - 09:31 PM
number 6 04 Apr 06 - 08:23 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 04 Apr 06 - 09:08 PM
Scoville 04 Apr 06 - 09:51 PM
mack/misophist 04 Apr 06 - 10:15 PM
CarolC 04 Apr 06 - 10:34 PM
open mike 05 Apr 06 - 01:18 AM
CarolC 05 Apr 06 - 01:28 AM
GUEST,M.Ted 05 Apr 06 - 07:03 PM
HuwG 05 Apr 06 - 10:38 PM
Mr Happy 06 Apr 06 - 07:22 PM
Mr Happy 06 Apr 06 - 07:27 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Apr 06 - 12:12 AM
semi-submersible 07 Apr 06 - 01:24 PM

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Subject: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Peter T.
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 12:48 AM

As someone who has been quite happily contributing to Wikipedia for some time, it occurred to me (duh!) that it was the same philosophy as Mudcat -- the Internet as community. I was wondering if there were others here who had been Wikipediaists. It is not as much fun as Mudcat, but pretty fun.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 10:11 AM

Peter,

I have a couple of things I'd like to add, including a photo. Is it simple to sign up to post this kind of thing on Wikipedia? I've posted text corrections without having to sign up, but saw something different for photos. And what are "stubs" (I think that is what it was called)? A short post for a diseased local personality was put up there and was identified as some kind of a partial entry. The person who started it suggested that someone else make it into a regular entry. Any idea what they were talking about?

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 10:31 AM

I posted information during Katrina. What a godsend Wiki was for those couple of weeks!


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 10:33 AM

BTW, I am a librarian who uses Wiki frequently for "quick and easy" checks of facts/info. I would love to contribute, but like SRS, haven't had the time to figure out how the system works yet.

Care to give us a "quick and easy" Wiki how-to cheat sheet Peter T?


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 12:31 PM

There have been other Wiki threads here at Mudcat--and the big proviso is that no one should use it as their only source. There are a lot of unreliable (or incomplete) posters there. But as a quick refresher it works pretty well. It's popular culture a tad above the lowest common denominator. :)

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 12:50 PM

If it were set in some more solid media it would be fine but it isn't. One big magnetic storm and everything is lost.

Next problem with it is the lack of quality control. Some entries are so conflabulated that the reader would have to be an expert to understand them. Worse still the entries where the poster is an idiot.

Caveat ... etc


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 01:06 PM

Science magazine Nature recently did a study comparing the accuracy of Wikipedia with the Encyclopedia Britannica. They found that in articles having to do with factual matter, Wikipedia averaged around four errors per article, whereas Britannica averaged about three. But they also pointed out that the Wikipedia articles tended to be somewhat longer, increasing the opportunity for error, so they declared it pretty much a wash.

The advantage that Wikipedia has over Britannica is that if an error is spotted in Wikipedia, it can be corrected immediately, whereas with a hard-copy encyclopedia, you have to wait for annual supplements or the next edition, which can be a bit pricey.

Also, I've noted that on controversial stuff or matters of opinion, Wikipedia flags these articles with a warning and a disclaimer.

No matter what sources you use, you should cross-check—and use your head.

Don Firth

(Of course, there's the old warning that the man with one watch always knows what time it is. The man with two watches is never quite sure.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 01:07 PM

I am far too ignorant to attempt to make meaningful contributions to anything with as serious an intent as Wikipedia. However, I have been tempted to contribute to the Wiki spoof The Uncyclopedia. Unlike Wikipedia, The Uncyclopedia holds lies, half-truths, insane ramblings and utter bullshit in extremely high regard.

Uh-oh! I just discovered that they have no entry for "spatula"!


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 01:24 PM

Why haven't you alerted Mom MOAB to this site, BWL? I'm sure she'd find it entertaining.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 01:58 PM

Oh, I have, Maggie, in a round-about way. I remember posting a link to The Idiotic Table of the Elements.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 02:28 PM

I've never gotten up the nerve to contribute to Wikipedia. Don't know if I ever will, either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 02:33 PM

Bee-dubya-ell, when I first read your post, I read the name of the site you linked to as "Unicyclopedia". Now that would be my kind of cyclopedia site.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 02:45 PM

"Unicyclopedia."

I guess that's for folks who are pretty well balanced. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 03:03 PM

LOL

Unicyclopedia


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Melani
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 04:29 PM

While web-searching a topic I am interested in, I ran into a Wikipedia entry on the subject that I knew contained incorrect information. So I corrected it, but the experience made me worry about using it as a source.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Ebbie
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 08:45 PM

Sage, I'm sitting here bemused, if not downright flummoxed. A "diseased local personality"? Who needs that kind of information? Might you intend "deceased"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 06 - 08:56 PM

I guess he was diseased--he died of it. But yes, that was a typo that the spell check didn't catch. Syntax doesn't turn up when you press the "ABC" button. :(


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 09:43 AM

A "stub" is just a place holder waiting for someone to do something properly in the space.

Actually, it is really easy to contribute. You can contribute anytime by simply taking an existing article and adding to it (just Search for an item of interest to you, and click the edit bracket (usually on the right side of each section). The beauty is that it is immediately up on the site -- and of course since it is subject to correction (even by you!) you can be imperfect. If you want to start an article, you need to start an account (go to the Main Page, and there is a clicky to the login page -- all you have to give is your name and a password, and you are set. On the same page there is an instruction site which gives you the codes for getting rolling -- Stilly River, it also tells you how to do the picture thing. The only ones you really need are === (equals signs on each side of your main heading to big bold it) and ''' (apostrophes on each side to bold) and [[[ (brackets that link you to wherever else on the site you want a word to refer (it makes the link automaticaly if there is such a place).

At the bottom of each edit page is an "edit summary" to which you should add a few words about what it is you have done so that other people can know that you have been in there.

I should say that like Mudcat, if you are someone who likes to exercise their knowledge (it is a kind of weird anonymous showing off as well as a contribution), it is completely addictive.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 10:21 AM

"It is not as much fun as Mudcat, but pretty fun."

I'd say it's ahead of Mudcat, Peter T. If you're using Wikipedia to resesarch stuff that's obviously contentions, the territory is usually pretty well patrolled, and the background arguments are likely to be wonderful examples of people with widely divergent views working sometimes heatedly, but usually constructively, towards consensus.

My own main interest is the Balkans, and I can't imagine a better research tool than Wikipedia for pursuing this subject. For instance the entry on the Ustasha contains detail and achieves balance to an extent that is unlikely to be found in any other single source. And the debates between contributors that led to it saying what it does are there to be consulted too.

All pretty remarkable and encouraging in terms of the human condition, considering that just a dozen years ago some of those contributors were on opposite sides in an incredibly bitter and cruel war.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:14 AM

I agree, it's more fun than Mudcat. And I love the anonymity factor. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Naemanson
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:38 PM

As I hear it Wikipedia is not dependable. There is no system to ensure that there are facts being input and not opinion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:54 PM

Just like a lot of newspapers and TV news programmes, then?


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:17 PM

You enter it on a buyer beware basis, but it has been found to be largely accurate on scientific stories, compared to the Britannica. Don't be throwing out the baby etcetera...

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 09:31 PM

The problem with the Britannica or other bound source re science is that new data are constantly coming forward. Yearbooks help, but even so, it is hard for the editors to keep up, even with good editors. The yearbooks are helpful, but few ever read them and few subscribed for more than 3-4 years. My Britannicas date from 1940s and 1911 and I have an 1885 Chambers', but I use them mainly for historical perspective. I make an attempt to keep up with a few journals, esp. Science and Nature, but I have to make a trip across town to the library.

Lack of editing, documentation bibliographic information are the pitfalls of Wackipedia. Some articles are good, but others are horribly bad. It may be an easy 'first' place to look, but it should never be the only one checked out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: number 6
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 08:23 PM

I've made a couple of changes in Wikipedia ... no big deal.

Actually I agree, it's more fun than Mudcat.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 09:08 PM

I finally got up the gumption to contribute some humor stuff to the Wikipedia parody site "The Uncyclopedia" (link above somewhere) and got banned after submitting three or four "articles".


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Scoville
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 09:51 PM

I like Wikipedia well enough, again with the caveat that you ALWAYS double-check. I always double-check anyway, no matter what the original source. I've found it to be lacking in some respects but I've also found some definitions that [pleasantly] surprised me (I don't know who wrote the definition on the Society of Friends but it's one of the better ones I've seen anywhere, religious "encyclopedias" included). I've also found it surprisingly helpful for some medical terminology. I work for a med school library (historical stuff, not so much medical stuff) and sometimes use it when I run across a term with which I am not familiar.

I don't think it's any less reliable than anything else you find on the web. I think people just get into trouble when they take it, or any source, as the final word. I don't think of that so much as a Wikipedia failing as a researcher failing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 10:15 PM

I've corrected usage, spelling and so forth but not facts.

The thing I find most interesting is the management's occasional uncertainty about the orientation of a poster (see the article on Bonnie & Clyde, if the note is still there).

The Britannica has taken vigorous exception to the article in Nature, questioning their methods and and aims. If the Britannica is correct, it was a rather sleazy effort. Reviewers have pointed out that, in the past, Nature has made some amazing blunders, putting their procedures and editorial policies in doubt,


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 10:34 PM

I helped some people who were having problems figuring out how to phrase things once, but that's been my only contribution so far.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: open mike
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 01:18 AM

ws the entry about a diseased person or a deceased one??
one can lead to the other..


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: CarolC
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 01:28 AM

LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: GUEST,M.Ted
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 07:03 PM

I have been an advocate of creating a Mudcat Wiki for a while, but have no time to invest in it. It would be very useful to compile the factual and informational stuff that has been pounded out in many, many, threads, into a more permanent, more concise, and more searchable form. It would also be a Herculean task--the thing is that the collective knowledge here doesn't exist anywhere else, especially when you factor the personal recollections in--


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: HuwG
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 10:38 PM

I have contributed to Wikiedia once or twice. There is a ban on blatant advertising, but I do think that the articles I created (for example, on the man who inspired the third verse of Sultans of Swing and a band who should have had a hit alongside Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne but were banned from the airwaves by the BBC), are historically noteworthy.

It is interesting to chase links from one story. Quite how I started with Epiphone and ended up at the Mauryan Empire would take too long to explain all the intermediate steps.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 07:22 PM

I pop into Wiki frequently & find it most informative & entertaining.

BUT! - I recall being pretty piste off with the info on 'Folk Songs/Music'[revival]- yet not confident enough to add corrections.



It doesn't seem as easy as Mudcat, to add one's
thoughts/contributions.

Anyone else had similar experience?


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 07:27 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 12:12 AM

Nature, responding to Britannica, stands by their article and has a point-by-point rebuttal, including...

"Our reviewers may have made some mistakes — we have been open about our methodology and never claimed otherwise — but the entries they reviewed were blinded: they did not know which entry came from Wikipedia and which from Britannica. We see no reason to believe that any misidentifications of errors would adversely affect one publication more than the other. And of the 123 purported errors in question, Britannica takes issue with fewer than half."

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BS: Wikipediaists?
From: semi-submersible
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 01:24 PM

Of course it's unreliable! Like human knowledge, it's never complete. But unlike other information sources I use:
1) it's easy to find what I need, if it's there.
2) if it's wrong or missing, I can do something about it.

What's really exciting is that to contribute to Wikipedia, one doesn't first have to achieve mastery in one's field, second, produce an authoritative book or paper, third, find a publisher, then fourth, wait for the other authorities in the field to read and adopt one's contribution, before the public can begin to use it. I note that most information readily searchable by you or me has had to filter through this years-long elite-managed process. Either you consult the most recent reference books you can find on your subject, or you spend an extended period browsing over such articles as you can find on the topic, or (nowadays) you Google some likely phrases and wade through reams of unrelated slush in hopes of finding some - albeit unreliable - relevant information. But with Wikipedia, you don't need a degree or a publishing contract to add a footnote to history. You just have to have the patience to find words brief, clear, and accurate enough so that others familiar with the topic will not edit it out again.

The result (Wikipedia today, errors and all) proves that this powerful process does work.

And yes, like Mudcat, the Wikipedia is vulnerable to a serious disaster. More so if the running of it be left to a few volunteers equipped with used duct tape and baling wire.

I must admit I have contributed little, resource- or information-wise, to the Mudcat, and so far (under the name of Egmonster) proportionately less to Wikipedia. But I will. Not quite as easy to jump in, not as personable as the Mudcat, but Wikipedia has a wider scope, and better access for non-anglophones.

Bee-dubya-ell, that's a bummer; where were your banned Uncyclopedia articles?


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