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The Role of Experts In Wikipedia

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the epistemology-recapitulates-ontology dept.

The Internet 266

Hugh Pickens writes "Episteme, a magazine about the social dimensions of knowledge, has a special issue on the epistemology of mass collaboration, with many of the articles focusing on Wikipedia. One of the most interesting articles is by Lawrence M. Sanger on the special role of experts in the age of Wikipedia. Sanger says the main reason that Wikipedia's articles are as good as they are is that they are edited by knowledgeable people to whom deference is paid, although voluntarily, but that some articles suffer precisely because there are so many aggressive people who 'guard' articles and drive off others (PDF), including people more expert than they are. 'Without granting experts any authority to overrule such people, there is no reason to think that Wikipedia'a articles are on a vector toward continual improvement,' writes Sanger. Wikipedia's success cannot be explained by its radical egalitarianism or its rejection of expert involvement, but instead by its freedom, openness, and bottom-up management and there is no doubt that many experts would, if left to their own devices, dismantle the openness that drives the success of Wikipedia. 'But the failure to take seriously the suggestion of any role of experts can only be considered a failure of imagination,' writes Sanger. 'One need only ask what an open, bottom-up system with a role for expert decision-making would be like.' The rest of the articles on the epistemology of mass collaboration are available online, free for now." Sanger was one of the founders of Wikipedia, and of its failed predecessor Nupedia, who left the fold because of differences over the question of the proper role of experts. Sanger forked Wikipedia to found Citizendium, which we have discussed on several occasions. After 2-1/2 years, Citizendium has a few tenths of a percent as many articles as Wikipedia.

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266 comments

Wikipedia Experts? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868281)

Citation Needed

Re:Wikipedia Experts? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868671)

All of the information you need is available here [tinypic.com] (sorry for it being an image, but that's better than a PDF).

Barf (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868297)

Excuse me while I barf at the notion that wikipedia has anything as authoritative as "experts".

It is a steaming pile of political propaganda controlled by left wing zealots.

Re:Barf (-1, Offtopic)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868401)

Let me guess, a proud conservapedia writer...

Re:Barf (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26869543)

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.
-Samuel Adams

Oh, and here's something for you manmade-global-warming nuts: a former astronaut calling out global warming hucksters as perpetuating lies and academic intimidation as a means to increase government control. http://news.bostonherald.com/news/national/general/view.bg?articleid=1152427 [bostonherald.com]

Got a better way to do things? (5, Insightful)

Protonk (599901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868343)

Larry Sanger, the expert at making an online encyclopedia. We love to talk shit about Wikipedia here on /,; talk about how Knol is going to beat it or how Citizendium is better or how you wouldn't use it as a source (duh). But when push comes to shove, do we have any good competing models of how an online encyclopedia should be made?

Do we have any good reason to trust Sanger as anything other than a provocateur? What is the meat of the analysis? That open editing and cooperation is what explains wikipedia's success? I'll agree with him there. And that control of articles or processes by internal "experts" is damaging to that open editing and cooperation? I'll take two, please. He's the big problem.

We don't really know how to make a reasonably reliable, open and comprehensive encyclopedia without some deference to "local fiefdoms". We just don't. People don't contribute for money or fame. They don't have marching orders on which articles to keep free from vandalism or improve to featured status. They control their own production. Where that is the case they will bring themselves to edit on subjects they like and edit those articles in order to bring the distribution of coverage to their liking. We have to allow a little of that because it is those people who keep it from being a nuthouse. Those people spend 20-30 hours on wikipedia a week. They watch recent changes to keep subtle vandalism out. They fight back against civil POV pushers. They are an absolute necessity.

To they come with drawbacks? Hell yes. There are probably thousands of people who have avoiding wikipedia as editors because their first edits were reverted--even though they might have been productive. I find lots of those reversions and usually don't get a cooperative attitude from editors when I call them on it. Those people make subtle cultural distinctions (I like this and not that). Those people form cliques and cabals. Those people make processes and bureaucracy.

But I don't have a better way of organizing all of that free labor. Does Larry? Do you?

Re:Got a better way to do things? (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868361)

Lulz. "He's the big problem" should read "Here's the big problem. I fail at previewing.

Experts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868459)

The give false credibility to a heap of garbage.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (4, Interesting)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868567)

Sanger has been saying stuff like this ever since he started Citizendium, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and Citizendium sucks.

I think the problem is evident in his statement quoted in the summary: "Without granting experts any authority to overrule such people, there is no reason to think that Wikipedia'a articles are on a vector toward continual improvement". Well, unless you count the fact that collectively Wikipedia's articles have quite obviously been on a vector toward continual improvement since Wikipedia started. Wikipedia's article quality is not monotonic, but it is increasing. Under what metric is Wikipedia not getting better? Larry, stop speaking in generalities and point us to some actual evidence that Wikipedia articles are not increasing in quality.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868769)

Well, unless you count the fact that collectively Wikipedia's articles have quite obviously been on a vector toward continual improvement since Wikipedia started.

This is not obvious at all. Let alone "quite obvious". Indeed, it is false.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (4, Informative)

Protonk (599901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868817)

[Citation needed]
You can say a lot of things about wikipedia, but if you say that the majority of articles are worse off now than in (say) 2002, you'll be full of shit. You can point to some good articles in the past that have degraded from random edits. Or articles which have been subject to turf wars. But on the whole, there is improvement.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (5, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869033)

An improvement towards what though? Most articles have settled down to reflect the viewpoint of the people that watch them. If you agree with that viewpoint, that's an improvement. If you don't it's not and you give up citing, editing or reading them.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869357)

An improvement towards what though? Most articles have settled down to reflect the viewpoint of the people that watch them. If you agree with that viewpoint, that's an improvement. If you don't it's not and you give up citing, editing or reading them.

And for non-controversial subjects, that generally results in a pretty good article.

For controversial subjects, if the article is bad it's normally because policies aren't being followed: for example, the 'Apollo Moon Hoax' article (whatever the title may be today as it gets renamed regularly) has been a disaster zone for years, but that's primarily because it's an enormous violation of WP:UNDUE.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (3, Interesting)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869645)

The trouble is, lots of things can become controversial. Best example is "The Medieval Warm period". As far as I can tell everyone who looked for evidence of this in things like ice core temperature records found it. Unfortunately the fact that the average temperature of the Earth has been warmer in the past is awkward to people who claim that the current warming is unprecedented and an iminent disaster. So the Medieval Warm period article gets attacked by people trying to claim that the warming back then never happened.

And if you look at the article today, it frankly doesn't make any sense. On the one hand the intro says that the MWP never happened. The if you look the "By Region" section it clearly did. And the talk page is a complete warzone with MWP believers quoting The Telegraph, MWP disbelievers quoting sites like realclimate. Unfortunately the MWP disbelievers have got arbcom to label all the sources that are hostile to them as unreliable sources.

Frankly you're better off ignoring Wikipedia and looking at primary sources, i.e. people that actually looked for evidence.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (5, Funny)

chromatic (9471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869457)

[Citation needed]

Indeed; can you provide citations that Wikipedia's aggregate quality has improved?

Re:Got a better way to do things? (1)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868987)

OK, we've got assertions going both ways. Now where's the evidence? I don't want anecdotes, I want a quantitative survey of a large number of articles. Until that exists, this argument is going nowhere.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (4, Informative)

Protonk (599901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869495)

WP:EPR [wikipedia.org]
Wikipedia:Wikipedia in academic studies [wikipedia.org]

Dig in. Or we could look at the increase in "Featured" articles [wikipedia.org] and "Good" article stats [wikipedia.org] , though the latter is not a community process but an individual process.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26869739)

Let us redefine "broadband" to mean transfer rates above 28.8 kbps, so that everyone may have broadband.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (5, Insightful)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868727)

Yeah there really isn't a much better way. I ran into this recently on an article on Wikipedia on the Super Nintendo release date. I was a video game reviewer in the early 90's and have a letter signed by Nintendo's PR firm stating I was getting a review system before launch (which was a pretty typical thing for them to do). The letter was dated the same date as when the Wikipedia article said the system was actually released.

Given this evidence I scanned the letter and posted it to let them know their date was off. Their response was that they couldn't use the letter as proof the date was wrong because they only used published sources of information. Unfortunately the only published sources they had were a handful of websites currently online that had the wrong date written down (no doubt copied from each other).

At first I was taken aback by this as it was a bit odd that they would turn down physical evidence, but after thinking about it, it was obvious they didn't know me from Adam and can't just take people's word for things at face value, otherwise people could "prove" whatever they wanted. Those kinds of check and balances probably produce entries that aren't always perfect, but it's a lot better than the alternative in my mind.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868813)

One of the main problems of Wikipedia is it has firm guidelines on what it is and what it is not. There is a ton of information that could be released on Wikipedia but isn't because it isn't 100% verifiable or contains "specialty information". Now, I see where the editors are coming from, but similarly, for the average person interested in something (say a video game) there isn't any one major source of information about each one other than Wikipedia. Sure, you can find loads of reviews, a few walkthroughs, all the gameshark codes you want, and perhaps even a ROM or two of it. But as for real information on the game, that goes beyond that, you have to sort through mountains of Google searches with no real way that you can easily find it. Stuff like that I believe belongs on Wikipedia but keeps getting taken down from editors.

Sure, I have no objection to vandalism being taken down, but the biggest flaw I see in Wikipedia is a lot of content gets deleted for no reason (face it, storage and bandwidth is dirt cheap).

Re:Got a better way to do things? (5, Informative)

Beetle B. (516615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869125)

One of the main problems of Wikipedia is it has firm guidelines on what it is and what it is not.

Actually, I wish. It's simply not true. They may have a few core rules (e.g. the one you complain about) that are quite rigid, but overall there is virtually no rule in Wikipedia that is not subject to modification - including by certain senior people at Wikipedia - when circumstances dictate it.

Don't take my word for it - I got it from the horse's mouth [ted.com] . He says it in so many words.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (1, Insightful)

crossmr (957846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869195)

Except wikipedia doesn't believe it belongs on wikipedia, it is why it is taken down. If you want to start a wiki about various games and include all the infinite detail and trivia about it, you can. You can even get it linked in the external links. There is a certain subset of the population of editors who can't seem to tell the difference between an encyclopedia and everything every written, said, thought and just made up about a subject ever. That being said the 10,000 sub articles on pokemon needs to be nuked from orbit. Articles are meant to provide all the information the average person would find useful about a subject. Someone who is not a world of warcraft player, which is something 99.998% of the population of the world, doesn't remotely care what spells some paladin gets access to at level 27. It isn't remotely useful to their understanding of the subject. Articles are usually made by players, but not for players. Try being objective.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26870093)

Wait, "wikipedia doesn't believe it belongs on wikipedia"?

Great, Now I'm going to have to update the Wikipedia page that lists all things that aren't listed in Wikipedia again.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869225)

Sure, I have no objection to vandalism being taken down, but the biggest flaw I see in Wikipedia is a lot of content gets deleted for no reason (face it, storage and bandwidth is dirt cheap).

Which is why they just completed a six million dollar fund raising campaign. With cheap disk space, and cheap bandwidth, and volunteers doing the work... where is the money going?
 
Setting that aside, the problem isn't the cost of disk space or bandwidth - the problem is the unseen cost of maintenance. Every article on Wikipedia requires some portion of an editors time to maintain accuracy, completeness, coherency, etc..., and to clean up behind vandals. And there are only so many editors at any given time. Too many articles means rot accumulates in the corners and moves inward. Too many articles means too many stubs that remain untouched. Too many articles means an increasing number of articles that say the same thing from different points of views.
 
And frankly, based on a daily random sampling of articles, Wikipedia seems to be losing the battle.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (2, Insightful)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868873)

You can "prove" things via publishing that letter in a book. The people with money still successfully control information through Wikipedia. What a waste.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868951)

"Published sources" often means newspapers. But journalists aren't experts at the subject they're writing about and that means they simplify, misunderstand, or get it wrong. But it's published, so wikipedia has to trust it.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869111)

Given this evidence I scanned the letter and posted it to let them know their date was off. Their response was that they couldn't use the letter as proof the date was wrong because they only used published sources of information. Unfortunately the only published sources they had were a handful of websites currently online that had the wrong date written down (no doubt copied from each other).

Not that you necessarily care right now, but you could consider sending the scanned copy of the letter to the published sources. Wikipedia is supposed to be an aggregation of published information on the web. You need change the sources, not it itself.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (5, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869159)

Given this evidence I scanned the letter and posted it to let them know their date was off. Their response was that they couldn't use the letter as proof the date was wrong because they only used published sources of information. Unfortunately the only published sources they had were a handful of websites currently online that had the wrong date written down (no doubt copied from each other).

Indeed, because I had a related problem. A series of related articles I wished to edit had considerable problems. I worked on the item described in one of the articles while I was in the Navy, I had the unclassified manuals at one elbow, at the other elbow I had a stack of expensive reference books... All were trumped because a handful of websites all referenced the same handful of coffee table books - and disagreed with me.
 
 

At first I was taken aback by this as it was a bit odd that they would turn down physical evidence, but after thinking about it, it was obvious they didn't know me from Adam and can't just take people's word for things at face value, otherwise people could "prove" whatever they wanted. Those kinds of check and balances probably produce entries that aren't always perfect, but it's a lot better than the alternative in my mind.

Except there aren't any checks and balances - there is only whether or not the guy you discussing the issue with has more time on his hands and whether or not he can quote an interpretation of policy that supports his position. Your story is one of how the checks and balances fail.

Book references (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 5 years ago | (#26870047)

I worked on the item described in one of the articles while I was in the Navy, I had the unclassified manuals at one elbow, at the other elbow I had a stack of expensive reference books... All were trumped because a handful of websites all referenced the same handful of coffee table books - and disagreed with me.

Two things :
- Unlike the parent which had a letter, but from the point of view of other wikipedia could as well have been forged, you have references in *UN*-classified original manuals written by the Navy themselves. As they are not classified, they can be checked by any other user. It *IS* a reliable source. In addition, as it is written by the original maker of the thing, it could be considered as fist hand source, even better that website conveying second hand information.
So the situation isn't the same as with the "I have a letter".

- Ok, if the other users don't want to simply edit the date, maybe write a couple of lines saying that the commonly found data on the web and the manuals from the original source seem to disagree, citing your source.

Re:Book references (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26870167)

So the situation isn't the same as with the "I have a letter".

The end result was the same - my edits were rejected because they didn't match the commonly, and easily, available sources.
 
 

Ok, if the other users don't want to simply edit the date, maybe write a couple of lines saying that the commonly found data on the web and the manuals from the original source seem to disagree, citing your source.

Well, it was more complex than the date - it was essentially an entire rewrite of half a dozen articles. On each, on the talk page, I noted my sources - and the same person (who had written all the articles and had most of the edits on them) promptly reverted my changes. (This was prior to 'citation needed'.) So I went to the talk page and explained that not only had I worked on this weapon in the Navy, but I had researched them for nearly twenty years and wished to share that research - and was promptly hit with the "no original research" hammer. (Never mind that any comprehensive historical article on the Wikipedia contains the same level of original research.)
 
Between that and several other examples of asshattery, I realized I didn't have time to fight one fool with too much time on his hands, let alone half a dozen or so. I left Wikipedia and have never been back.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (2, Interesting)

skroops (1237422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869219)

I agree that Wikipedia editors shouldn't accept your letter as evidence to change the article. But I would think that out of everyone involved with the article, who would seem to have an interest in having the correct information, somebody would take the initiative to get a correction published. As those sources are credible enought to be cited, then they should be credible enough to judge your evidence.

Someone should send the scan to the websites, along with an explanation about the situation.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (3, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869331)

Those kinds of check and balances probably produce entries that aren't always perfect, but it's a lot better than the alternative in my mind.

This is also why articles are deleted on wikipedia, the editors are biased by their cultural knowledge. If its believed to be correct by their peers, then an alternate and possibly correct view cant be published due to the editors belonging to the same peer group.

This is really difficult area when it comes to politics, groups/clubs, companies, history, ethnic, gender, minority, etc. You only get one side. Thus the reason it cant be used in colleges, its mass agreement by a very common peer group. And a good portion of the editors are very close in its peer groups.

Re:Got a better way to do things? (1)

Terminology Man (1478519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868783)

I think that there IS a better way to design an on-line encyclopaedia, you can find it here: http://www.terminologyforum.com/fenris/index/lang/page?UILang=en [terminologyforum.com] . I specially designed this platform to enable experts in their fields to contribute their knowledge, putting put it in the public domain (where it belongs), and taking credit for doing so. Wikipedia is faced with its inherent contradictions, and it trying to pedal back from its original concept. The Open Terminology Forum website is designed to allow conflicting opinions to co-exist, and everything stays on record. Domains can be created in the Open Terminology Forum website as needed, and languages can be added. The next domain planned is computers. Want to join?

The reasons are actually quite simple. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868947)

Those with the most time on their hands wins.

Mod up. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26869257)

This is absolutely correct.

It doesn't really matter if the people guarding articles are experts or not, or whether the other people who are trying to edit the article are experts or not. What matters is that somebody with enough free time to outlast the others will keep or gain control of the article and everybody else will eventually lose interest or give up in frustration and the article will became essentially the property of the person with nothing better to do than try to own it.

So many Wikipedia articles eventually fall into that particular category of worthlessness.

Re:Mod up. (0, Flamebait)

Shturmovik (632314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869671)

Don't tell me -- I bet you tried to change an article to the way you wanted it but every one kept changing it back?

You didn't like how the truth about you and those gay whores kept coming out to haunt you?

Re:Got a better way to do things? (5, Insightful)

Yuuki Dasu (1416345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869011)

We love to talk shit about Wikipedia here on /,; talk about how Knol is going to beat it or how Citizendium is better or how you wouldn't use it as a source (duh). But when push comes to shove, do we have any good competing models of how an online encyclopedia should be made?

Well, I don't recall seeing full support here on /. for Knol or Citizendium. There seemed to be people on both sides of the aisle getting their voices heard. Many people attacked Wikipedia for its shortcomings, which you yourself agree exist. So, too, did many people attack the upstarts, with the standard arguments that come out whenever we discuss project forks or restarts here. Finally, there were people who had reasonable criticism for the upstart projects themselves.

However, Wikipedia itself has been extensively criticized throughout its history; famously, its ability to accumulate knowledge and remove vandalism works "only in reality, not in theory." So on that note, how can we say that we know that those systems are inherently that much worse? Many would argue, as you yourself hint, that Wikipedia's supremacy is eminent in its dominance, and in its success. Yes, Wikipedia has orders of magnitude more content than its competitors. Please consider, though, the possibility that this is simply the result of first mover advantage and network effects.

Wikipedia came on to the scene to find a fresh niche to fill. Earlier sites existed with similar goals to describe and categorize life (see: everything2 [slashdot.org] and h2g2 [bbc.co.uk] ), but Wikipedia had a slightly different defined goal (be "the free encyclopedia") and software to ease the processes of collaboration and presentation. It took off like a shot and quickly established itself before it really had competition.

Today, Wikipedia has somewhere around 2.8 million articles and a dedicated community. It seems immediately obvious to me that it's impossible today to compete with Wikipedia from square one; any competitor would need to fork the project or have their own equally impressive database. A database that size needs a huge support structure, not only in infrastructure but also in terms of volunteers/workers to police content. It's not possible to get those things all at once. There might be enough people out there who would be interested in helping a different project, but there's no way to get in touch with all of them. New talent either joins up with Wikipedia, or becomes disinterested when they don't fit with that group.

Wikipedia got where it is because it was good enough at the right time. It does a lot right. It does some things wrong. It's not perfect. But then, I don't have to tell /. about technically inferior products dominating the marketplace due to familiarity...

I usually read the discussion or history (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868347)

to get where the controversy in the articles/subjects are, so as not to be led astray by any one current revision. I don't get the big deal about doing that extra bit of work.

Expert FAIL (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868363)

The purpose of Wikipedia is to approach consensus, not truth. The purpose of experts is to forward their own agenda ;)

People who think either Wikipedia or experts are interested in the truth are likely to be confused.

Re:Expert FAIL (5, Insightful)

Protonk (599901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868445)

The purpose of Wikipedia is to approach consensus, not truth.

I guess. This kind of critique gets pretty old. The whole point of moving away from "THE TRUTH" was to suggest that no one editing on wikipedia has access to "THE TRUTH". I'm not an expert. You're not an expert. Sure, we probably have our areas of expertise, but they aren't verifiable in a pseudonymous editing environment. In the absence of that verification, we have to trust references, not people. If I say "believe me, this is THE TRUTH", the right response is "Wikipedia isn't interested in THE TRUTH, do you have a source for that."

It's cute to twist that around, but neither you nor I are Steven Colbert. We won't make it anywhere near as funny. To misread it to think "Oh, wikipedia is only interested in groupthink" is to miss the point. Lots of so called experts come on wikipedia and demand that people listen to them on the basis of their alleged expertise. When people (rightly) refuse to listen to them, those people storm off to /., their blog, or their cat and declare that Wikipedia is only interested in groupthink. Lots of time groupthink does grip wikipedia--just like any other organization. People see comments from editors they know and trust and respond accordingly. New people are often distrusted. These aren't features unique (or even uniquely salient) to wikipedia. They are features found in any community, large or small. Conflating the existence of groupthink with some underlying community desire> to govern through groupthink is inaccurate.

Really, we don't mind the truth, so long as it has a little blue superscripted number after it.

Re:Expert FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868519)

Indeed.

And there's a reason an encyclopedia such as Wikipedia should not be about printing The Truth, and I can sum it up in one word. [[God]]. There are plenty of other articles, but that's enough. :P

In the absence of Truth, which is necessarily going to be fought over, we have Facts, which have the positive property of being True without being about The Truth.

Re:Expert FAIL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868561)

neither you nor I are Steven Colbert.

You should thank God for that. He is a steaming pile of crap.

Re:Expert FAIL (3, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868667)

I agree and would add another dimension to what you've said. A great deal of knowledge/truth are interconnected so even a non-expert in one area can detect inaccuracies or even outright lies in another when it contradicts what he knows in his area of expertise. Wikipedia has this web of inter-connection in place because of its links and citations. This, I think, pushes Wikipedia or any grand system of knowledge towards "the truth" because reality cannot be inconsistent or self-contradictory so neither can any representation of "the truth". A lie or false statement somewhere can undermine the entire system. We see this happening in science and other fields as the experts in those fields work out the inconsistencies. This also happens to an extend on Wikipedia.

Re:Expert FAIL (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869109)

Wikipedia has this web of inter-connection in place because of its links and citations. This, I think, pushes Wikipedia or any grand system of knowledge towards "the truth" because reality cannot be inconsistent or self-contradictory so neither can any representation of "the truth".

Facts + interpretation = "truth"
Interpretations are subject to inconsistencies and self-contradictions.
Give us facts and please keep "the truth" to yourselves.

Re:Expert FAIL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26869591)

From my experience, facts have the possibility of being argued as vehemently as interpretations. All it takes is one person with the power to mis-state a fact and prevent anyone else from changing it.

Re:Expert FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868701)

Perhaps it gets old but it is none the less true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Global_warming&limit=5000&action=history

5000 edits in about a year (nearly 500 in the last month)? Seriously? How in any way could that article be taken seriously. How at any moment could you know who edited last (other than also diging thru history tabs and who does that)? Is it currently slanted in one direction or another?

I also picked that one as it is a good one of group think. Question ANYTHING about the subject and its get out the pitch forks and get a rope.

Some subjects lend themselves to facts others to opinions. For example how many tracks are on the last Metallica album is a 'fact'. What Lars did in relation to Napster can be up for opinion.

Re:Expert FAIL (5, Funny)

ocularDeathRay (760450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868815)

The purpose of Wikipedia is to approach consensus, not truth.

I guess. This kind of critique gets pretty old. The whole point of moving away from "THE TRUTH" was to suggest that no one editing on wikipedia has access to "THE TRUTH". I'm not an expert. You're not an expert. Sure, we probably have our areas of expertise, but they aren't verifiable in a pseudonymous editing environment. In the absence of that verification, we have to trust references

the solution has been right under our noses the whole time!... lets just have the guys at Britannica write our consensus for us. Think about it.. then you never have to question the source of our info, cause the REAL experts are taking care of us.

personally I think all this wikishit is a load of tree hugging hippie crap. I am still using my 1994 CD-ROM version of the World Book encyclopedia because it sounded a lot more official than the names of the people writing wiki. I mean if I need to know the main industries of Sudan, I don't want to hear it from CaPtAinSwampA$$, I want it from a big faceless corporation I can trust.

Re:Expert FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26869697)

personally I think all this wikishit is a load of tree hugging hippie crap. I am still using my 1994 CD-ROM version of the World Book encyclopedia because it sounded a lot more official than the names of the people writing wiki. I mean if I need to know the main industries of Sudan, I don't want to hear it from CaPtAinSwampA$$, I want it from a big faceless corporation I can trust.

Funniest shit I've ever read on /. so far. Mostly because it's so true. And I'm captain swamp ass...

Re:Expert FAIL (2, Insightful)

S77IM (1371931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869369)

Lots of so called experts come on wikipedia and demand that people listen to them on the basis of their alleged expertise. When people (rightly) refuse to listen to them, those people storm off to /., their blog, or their cat and declare that Wikipedia is only interested in groupthink.

If they were really such experts, they should capable of citing adequate evidence to back up their claims.

Re:Expert FAIL (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868843)

nonsense. Wikipedia is meant to contain fact.

Re:Expert FAIL (3, Insightful)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869359)

The purpose of Wikipedia is to approach consensus, not truth.

And one way is to shut out the people who don't agree.

Not learning from failure... apparently (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868375)

"Sanger was one of the founders of Wikipedia, and of its failed predecessor Nupedia"

There is a reason why he failed; "Without granting experts any authority to overrule such people, there is no reason to think that Wikipedia'a articles are on a vector toward continual improvement," writes Sanger

And all I have to say is ... so what? Articles at wikipedia frequently link to great off site expert resources. Not only that you have a wealth of choices of where you can get your information from, you're not limited to just wikipedia. If wikipedia was the only encyclopedia on earth his point might make sense. But given the level of alternatives and 'competitors' and number of wikipedia's contributors, there's a point where an article is more then good enough as a starting point.

The difference between experts and amateurs
in many instances is not large and for the most part negligible in many area's of knowledge, in other areas not so much.

Not only that, experts frequently get things wrong, the idea that experts are monolithically better then amateurs and other experts also has serious problems. Given that there has always been contention about certain areas of knowledge, take history for example: How much important stuff is/was and is possibly currently being omitted from history by "experts" for any number of reasons that might bias their testimony?

Wikipedia works because it has information people want. Experts frequently cull information they deem 'unworthy' of documenting, there's a whole host of articles on wikipedia about culture and entertainment stuff that would not normally be in a regular encyclopedia.

Truth be told, Wikipedia is an excellent study in the controversial nature of knowledge. Experts are frequently wrong, the history of mankind is one of the constant error in the expert world.

Re:Not learning from failure... apparently (1)

teh moges (875080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869041)

I agree, experts are just as likely to disagree, especially on controversial issues.

As well as that, what constitutes an expert, and has a ranking system been setup, because I haven't got my number yet.

I would fee qualified to write an article on cluster analysis, which is a form of statistics, but not on other statistical methods. So, in order for such an expert system to be setup, either I would need to say what I'm an expert in (which would result in a situation no different from wikipedia now), or someone would need to look at all my references and decide for themselves (which is prohibitively expensive given the size and scope of an encyclopedia). So in order for it to work, you need people self-authorizing themselves to edit articles, which is exactly what wikipedia does now. Its not perfect, but its been shown by a few attempts to do the 'expert' thing that any benefits aren't worth the losses in information.

If you are using wikipedia as the only reference, you are going to get burned, much the same way as if you use anything as your only reference (big media, little media, conspiracy media, outdated books, articles that have been rebutted but remain published, websites with yellow text on a black background). Wikipedia is the starting point to learn about something, but it surely isn't the ending point.

Re:Not learning from failure... apparently (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869527)

Wikipedia works because it has information people want. Experts frequently cull information they deem 'unworthy' of documenting, there's a whole host of articles on wikipedia about culture and entertainment stuff that would not normally be in a regular encyclopedia.

Not really. Its the peer groups idea of what is "worthy".

Take the mens rights article. Since there are no national mens rights movements. None that are a non-profit or officially accepted to speak as an Acceptable source for documentation. The major sources are infotainment reporters such as Glenn Sacks. The largest group of loosely related sites are Men going their own way (MGOTW), but its article and links on Mens Rights are often deleted due to the "popularity" concerns.

None of the active editors are familiar with Mens Rights issues, the websites, and often some are active in Womens Rights. And such think that mens rights articles are an attack on womens rights.

People have to backdoor issues in with Fathers rights, as its more media friendly. There are movies about fathers seem to get the approval under popular mainstream references.

The "personal belief" issue of Wikipedia editors is the reason older and mature editors are needed. The young editors with no life experience and knowledge cant recall the events of more than a couple decades of life experience. They had to use what they learned so far, maybe from college or personal experience which isn't always realistic as a whole.

Thats big reason the Simpsons, Futurama and any media is always allowed, everyone can agree, it just happened.

Epistemology - the new Communication Studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868377)

I couldn't get through Calc II, so I switched from physics major to bio. Couldn't make it through O-Chem, so I switched to Psychology. Then, Stats killed me, so Now I study epistemology in the philosophy department. Now, I study the nature of knowledge, in the disciplines that I couldn't cut it in.

Watch this!

Plato would disagree with your foundationalist approach to externalism, instead, your truth is an artificial distinction between fabilism and a-prior coherentism.

also, P-->Q tf ~Q-->~P

I'm smart, right?

Does it have a topic to cover this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868425)

Does God use warez? Does God download movies? Music (besides Amy Grant)? Does God steal software? Is God a pirate? Does God have plans for the Pirate bay warez hackers? Does God use GPL software? Does God have DSL or cable? Does God have a cap?

The Wikipedia is getting better (4, Interesting)

Ex-Linux-Fanboy (1311235) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868455)

It is my feeling that the Wikipedia is getting better. The community has put rules and procedures in place that make the place more pleasant to edit. In the mid-2000s, there were some issues where people could edit their own biography, and people could be obnoxious, flame and stalk other editors.

Since then, policies and procedures have been put in place. You can no longer get in to edits wars without [[WP:3RR]] [wikipedia.org] stopping you. You can no longer belittle editors who disagree with you without getting blocked for [[WP:NPA]] [wikipedia.org] . You can no longer edit the article about your small open-source project [wikipedia.org] without getting slapped for [[WP:COI]] [wikipedia.org]

Yes, these policies are not perfect, and yes a lot of articles still have unverified claims, and yes, like any democracy, it sometimes takes time and insanely excessive discussion to get to consensus. But the process on Wiki works and the new policies minimize the problems with articles. Did I mention that it's against Wikipedia policy to control articles on the Wiki, as per [[WP:OWNERSHIP]] [wikipedia.org]

Re:The Wikipedia is getting better (1)

HartDev (1155203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868829)

I think that with the gouching that goes on in College textbook markets is worth taking from Wikipedia and if someone does not think it is credible then the professors at the colleges or universities could either debunk it or sanction it. I would be more than happy to work on something like that with my University teachers, I think a lot of big whigs are getting mad cause they are raking in less dough.

Re:The Wikipedia is getting better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26869141)

It is my feeling that the Wikipedia is getting better. The community has put rules and procedures in place that make the place more pleasant to edit.

So it's merely more comfortable to edit, not that the information is better.

Re:The Wikipedia is getting better (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869395)

But the process on Wiki works and the new policies minimize the problems with articles.

Does the process stop editors from banning known authorities on a subject as vandals because they dared to correct the editor's pet page? I ask, because I know it's happened at least once, and said authority has never been able to get the ban lifted.

Re:The Wikipedia is getting better (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26870229)

Since then, policies and procedures have been put in place. You can no longer get in to edits wars without [[WP:3RR]] stopping you. You can no longer belittle editors who disagree with you without getting blocked for [[WP:NPA]]. You can no longer edit the article about your small open-source project without getting slapped for [[WP:COI]]

Yeah, all those things have been rolled into one meta game - WP:TAA. (Wikipedia:Toss Around Acronyms) The end result the is the same - the win goes to he who has the most time on his hands.
 
 

Did I mention that it's against Wikipedia policy to control articles on the Wiki, as per [[WP:OWNERSHIP]]

Yeah, that's part of WP:NRETISRG. (Wikipedia:Not Really Enforceable Though It Sounds Real Good.)

a common human social phenomenom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868485)

"Science progresses funeral by funeral." It is often the case that people who have been involved in an organization, a field, or community for many years develop a sense of ownership, and act as gatekeepers to try to inhibit newcomers trying to institute change. Sometimes this is for the better, as when the ideas, or the newcomers themselves, aren't very good. Other times, the old guard is just getting in the way of something or somebody which would take them out of their comfort zone, and (perhaps) expose them for not having kept up with new developments.

There's the old crack: "He said he had 15 years of experience, but it turned out to be 1 year of experience repeated 14 times." Or, more charitably, 3 years of experience followed by 12 years of coasting.

It's usually good for an organization or community to have a mix of old-timers and fresh blood.

So what? (2)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868515)

I for one find it annoying to hear about people ragging Wikipedia about its accuracy. Its not meant to be a replacement for actual experience and training. Its a quick crash course. Its meant to be fast, easy, and relatively accurate. Some topics are going to be better, some worse.

If your looking for information about some opensource project, it probably is pretty good. If you looking for a definition of some obscure abbreviation, your pretty good. If your looking for information about religion, what in the world are you starting at Wikipedia for?

I dont care if experts are writing it or not, because anything important I wouldnt trust/rely on a single source anyway even if it was written by an "expert"

PS. I do find it crazy how obsessed some people are with it though. Personally the only changes I usually make are grammatical errors.

It isn't "experts" that are needed... (4, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868525)

Wikipedia does pretty well by tapping into wisdom of crowds. But what it really needs is a good karma system to get more quality out of it.

You may complain about the quality of the comments on slashdot, but compare it to somewhere without any karma system. (this article [sfgate.com] sums up the problem with pure anonymity, and quite humorously so) Slashdot's system is not perfect, but it is a start in the right direction. I wonder how much wikipedia could be improved with a really good system. For instance, people with low karma would have their changes not show up immediately by default, or would be flagged as questionable, or what have you. People who didn't have a history of posting "good" stuff would tend to have few eyeballs ever see their stuff. There is a ton that could be done. It's tough to make it ungameable, but not impossible.

Re:It isn't "experts" that are needed... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868711)

" wonder how much wikipedia could be improved with a really good system. For instance, people with low karma would have their changes not show up immediately by default, or would be flagged as questionable, or what have you. People who didn't have a history of posting "good" stuff would tend to have few eyeballs ever see their stuff. "

I'm not sure a karma system would work, it would skew heavily in the favor "I agree so I will mod you up" kind of system that slashdot has. A lot of comments "insightful" and "informative" are rated by mods who don't have a clue but "it sounds insightful/informative, I agree with what you are saying, even though I might not have a clue"

Not only that, like DIGG you could 'game' the karma system. Kind of how sellers on ebay leave each other feedback.

Re:It isn't "experts" that are needed... (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868781)

Gaming it is, as I mentioned, a difficult but solvable problem. Note that google algorithmically defeats things like link farms (most of the time). Same thing.

It also isn't necessarily about "rating things up". If you make an edit, and it tends to stay for a good while unchanged (or mostly unchanged) on a high traffic page, that is an indication that your edit was "approved" and can earn you karma. This of course is how wikipedia already works (good edits stay around), but it could be enhanced by adding a reputation/karma system to it.

Re:It isn't "experts" that are needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26869365)

Wikipedia does pretty well by tapping into wisdom of crowds.

Sure. Go find how well Wikipedia is covering the global temperature decrease since 1998. Or since 2001. Mass deception, mass misediting.

Re:It isn't "experts" that are needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26870209)

I browse at -1. Do you? I ask because there are a lot of things that are modded down that the moderators have no business modding down. (And lately I've seen several people talking about moderating and also talk about how they only browse at 1, 2, or whatever. What business do they have moderating if they can't be bothered to see ALL the posts? All that does is makes sure anything unfairly modded down stays that way.)

Sure, the most egregious posts wind up at -1 and a lot of the really good posts get modded up. But some really decent posts wind up as "-1, disagree" and horseshit (often coming from people who obviously did not RTFA) is rated as "+5, agree".

Re:It isn't "experts" that are needed... (2, Informative)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26870267)

I don't know if you have actually given 18 hours a day to Wikipedia. I have (expert enough :p), and I can tell you right now that Wikipedia already has karma [wikipedia.org] system [wikipedia.org] .

Now it is well established in Wikipedia "groupthink" that quality counts more than either. But the crux lies in the question: Who decides the quality?

Experts are few and want to be paid. (4, Insightful)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868535)

Even leaving out the political issues, Experts are few ,and when well known, consider charging a lot for their work and would probably only devote time to getting published in a scholarly journal rather than some random website.

It would be like running an open source project where the only people who are allowed to work on it are those people who hold a PHD or are certified to have 10 years experience programming with a major corporation.

Re:Experts are few and want to be paid. (1)

Protonk (599901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868551)

Even leaving out the political issues, Experts are few ,and when well known, consider charging a lot for their work and would probably only devote time to getting published in a scholarly journal rather than some random website.

It would be like running an open source project where the only people who are allowed to work on it are those people who hold a PHD or are certified to have 10 years experience programming with a major corporation.

nail, meet head.

No. (3, Insightful)

S3D (745318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869493)

Experts want recognition of their efforts. It should not necessarily be money. It could be some kind of "elite" account, credits, reputation system etc. Of cause no expert would want his contribution be mutilated by opinionated teenager or some crank with agenda. The problem is how to identify experts. Some ID system like OpenID based on the university/corporate site/homepage or like could be useful.

Re:Experts are few and want to be paid. (1)

EGenius007 (1125395) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869963)

I think you're misrepresenting the quality of expert that is required for the bulk of improvements.

For example, when we elect officials to local government, we don't necessarily expect them to have a law degree and relevant experience. We simply want them to have a minimal skill set and a drive to serve. Ideally, we like when there's a large enough group meeting that set of criteria that we can then use a democratic process to pare this down to only the most qualified (or, more accurately the most popular) candidate(s).

Perhaps Wikipedia (or a fork) could benefit from a similar process. Editor-experts could be chosen from interested candidates by public referendum, serve for a set period of time, and thus implant a sense of responsibility (and hopefully credibility) to a specific article or group of articles.

What's that expression? Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.

Re:Experts are few and want to be paid. (3, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26870201)

Even leaving out the political issues, Experts are few ,and when well known, consider charging a lot for their work and would probably only devote time to getting published in a scholarly journal rather than some random website.

Not true at all - I know many experts (keep in mind that expert and academic are not synonyms) that would love to edit the Wikipedia. But each and every one has ultimately been driven from Wikipedia by various forms of asshattery.
 
 

It would be like running an open source project where the only people who are allowed to work on it are those people who hold a PHD or are certified to have 10 years experience programming with a major corporation.

And that's a problem - how? It reduces the pool available for participation, sure. But the project is still open source and thus forkable by any individual who cares to do so.

Sour grapes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868643)

The fact that Sanger was a co-founder of Wikipedia and always has this point of view about Wikipedia makes me want to read his article even less -- he is obviously not objective about the experience -- perhaps there is a valid point to make here, but the fact that Sanger is the author leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

How can Wikipedia be taken seriously... (4, Interesting)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868833)

...when articles are tagged with the dreaded "primary sources" tag? In case you're not familiar with this tag, it basically states that the integrity of an article is in question because there are not enough cites from secondary sources (no, not a typo) as opposed to primary sources!

Anyone with an academic background will recognize this acceptance criteria as anathema, as primary sources are usually the only sources that count when it comes to rigorous research. That said, a comment earlier about Wikipedia articles striving for validity through consensus rather than rigorous research now makes it very clear to me what is going on. At the least, Jimmy should be honest and clearly indicate to users that Wikipedia is more a compendium of collective wisdom rather than factual content.

Re:How can Wikipedia be taken seriously... (4, Insightful)

Protonk (599901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26868975)

Anyone with an academic background will understand the difference and the reason behind the policy. Substantive original research takes time, expertise and effort. There is a reason we have long training periods for PhDs--we try to ensure those people are capable of conducting research independently. When you can't verify who people are, you have to limit the amount of "original research" they can do.
It is just a different kind of writing than an original paper. People who make it out to be anti-academic or sneaky miss the boat entirely.

Re:How can Wikipedia be taken seriously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26870087)

That is by design. [[No Original Research]] [wikipedia.org] is a foundational principle of Wikipedia.

What we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868869)

...is a Bachelor of Douchebag Arts in Expertry.

Some hard evidence of Wikipedia's failure (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26868903)

First, take a look at this discussion by an expert. [artsjournal.com] (We now pause for the know-nothing kooks to ridicule Kyle Gann, claiming he's not an expert: Gann has of course written scholarly books on the subject of his expertise published by major academic institutions. Finished with the crackpot character assassination yet? Good, let's continue.)

Now take a look at the Wikipedia article on the Chicago School of Economics. Does it contain any hint that the Chicago School's prescriptions were put into practice in Chile and failed so spectacularly that the country went into a major recession?

Now take a look at the article on Alexander Hamilton. What birth date is cited? is there more than one? Do they differ? Does the Wikipedia article contain any discussion of a problem Hamilton's birth date? Do any of the Wikipedia contribution even give an evidence of realizing there's a problem with Hamilton's birth date?

Lastly, ask yourself how knowledge gets amassed in the real world via real scholarship. In real scholarship, there is no one single source of knowledge: instead, many different scholars publish different books and different articles, each providing alternative viewpoints. Eventually these differing viewpoints tend to converge on a single interpretation, as demonstrated by the overwhelming number of citations of scholarly books and articles by one particular group of authors and many fewer by all other authors (the familiar power law distribution observed in the long tail et al).

Exit question: does Wikipedia show any sign of recognizing this basic reality of the way scholarship gets done in the real world? (We now return you to your regularly scheduled insults and personal attacks and shower of acid contempt by people who can't even spell or use punctuation properly.)

Experts? (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869277)

What qualifies someone to be an expert?

You cannot prove that you have degrees on the subject, but many list PHDs even if they never earned any of them. Wikipedia's staff had many members that got exposed as frauds. [wikitruth.info]

When you cite a reference, they can quickly dismiss it by saying the source is not a reliable source. For example if it was not a liberal web site like the Huffington Post but rather the CATO institute, chances are the citation will be removed as well as the text that explains it. The same way for technical articles, apparently an OS/2 fan base is not a trusted source on OS/2 but IBM got rid of their OS/2 pages to base OS/2 history on. Luckily I was able to find a Unix Programming book that cited OS/2 2.0 used Amiga technology in exchange for Amiga using REXX technology. The IBM pages that talked about the exchange of technology are gone, and no web site mentions it anymore. But it is important history to learn that IBM licensed the Amiga technology to make OS/2 2.0 and above.

But anyway yeah people watching articles like a hawk and then instantly reverting it, even if the points are valid and have a reliable citation are but one of the many problems that Wikipedia suffers from. I call them as "Armchair Experts" because they lack knowledge, wisdom, and an education on the subject (no college courses or degrees on the subject) and act as an expert from their armchairs using their computers to bully and bash and revert their way into the articles.

I call such people as the Thought Police [wikipedia.org] who accuse us of Thought Crimes and quickly revert the articles even if it was a valid edit that cited reliable sources and had a neutral point of view.

Re:Experts? (1)

Viridae (1472035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869545)

"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

meh (1)

blool (798681) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869385)

The only fork that will work at this point is one that has laxer deletionist/notability standards. Notability could be determined by weather the article has a potential audience, not weather it meets some arbitrary standard of notability. Same with citation requirements, sections of an article that are contested would be marked as such, but not necessarily removed.

Problem is not lack of experts... (3, Insightful)

Choad Namath (907723) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869571)

The problem with wikipedia isn't a lack of experts, it's a preponderance of self-appointed "experts." The place is crawling with people whose only qualification is having way too much time on their hands. The whole hierarchy of wikipedia seems to be populated with people like this.

Re:Problem is not lack of experts... (1)

ausoleil (322752) | more than 5 years ago | (#26870075)

They have another "qualification:" the need to show off how smart they are, irregardless of whether they actually know of what they are talking about.

BIZNATch (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26869573)

fear the reaper Long term survival to die. I will Jam fact there won'7 Standpoint, I don't at my freelance IS DYING LIKE THE

Why is this man so obsessed with credentials? (1)

doom (14564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869583)

(1) There isn't any particular reason to think that credentialed experts are going to want to volunteer their work for free on wikipedia. Close it off to amateurs, and wikipedia will likely shrivel.

(2) There isn't any evidence that wikipedia is any more unreliable than any other encylopedia -- what studies there have been show them to be roughly comparable.

(3) The problem with volunteerism isn't the average quality of the volunteers -- the actual problem is subversion. As wikipedia, and things like it, grow in importance, than the ability to game the system will grow in importance, and well-funded flacks will overwhelm the volunteers (First, imagine that a Karl Rove has hired dozens of people to open hundreds of accounts, all of which build up their reputations until they're needed to control politically sensitive material. Second, imagine that the Chinese government has decided to take control of the page about China, rather than block the site.)

My prediction: there will come a time when internet anonymity has become more trouble than it's worth, and we'll insist that we know who our volunteers are.

Citizendium is not without issues (4, Informative)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869635)

Perhaps associated with its culture of 'experts', or perhaps simply its low population. One needs look no further than the Homeopathy article, which on Wikipedia is strongly rooted in reality, but on Citizendium is largely controlled by one Homeopath editor (who has been banned from Wikipedia for pushing his unsupportable POV), and leans towards promotion and advocacy.

Nice going... LAWRENCE (1)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869853)

I nearly thought about taking it seriously, until I saw Larry Sanger's name there. What a joke.

Experts are selfish, there's an eye-opener. (1)

Turzyx (1462339) | more than 5 years ago | (#26869971)

I've spoken to a number of colleagues about Wikipedia; in fact itâ(TM)s quite a recurring topic here. They all harp on about the inaccuracy of the articles as if the creators of Wikipedia are claiming all their material is 100% fact.

The reality as we've discussed here, is that they are not of course, but the main problem is not the inaccuracies of the articles, it's the point-blank refusal of additional experts to even entertain the idea of sharing their knowledge and why should they? The people with the knowledge and expertise to make coherent contributions to Wikipedia have likely spent years in academia or employment gaining their knowledge through experience and hard work, why should they simply give it away?

Experts are selfish, and they are also the worst people for criticising Wikipediaâ(TM)s accuracy and doing nothing to help correct it.

For "guard" read "wanker." (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#26870119)

I added something that was a) true; b) supported by references; c) well-written; d) not inflammatory or controversial to a certain article. I took my time and did it carefully. Foolish me -- someone who was clearly the self-appointed owner of that article removed it within minutes.

More articles != better (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26870311)

How many of the articles on Wikipedia that are missing from Citizendium are cruft like blow-by-blow retellings of individual episodes of children's cartoons, or two-line stubs on insignificant elementary schools, or bot-generated template "articles" on American locations that contain nothing more than a few statistics regurgitated from census data?

We need to remember that Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia. It is a repository of all the random facts and assertions that anyone was ever able to keep from being deleted. One could produce an encyclopedia by taking a subset of Wikipedia.

(Now wait for all the people who didn't bother to read this far to assume that I'm a Citizendium user. I'm not. I've never even visited Citizendium to the best of my knowledge, while I use Wikipedia almost daily.)

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