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Wikipedia-Sponsored Pilot Study Lauds Wikipedia Accuracy

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the accuracy-and-truthiness dept.

Stats 125

netbuzz writes "The Wikimedia Foundation today is releasing the results of a 'pilot study' it commissioned last year to assess the accuracy and quality of Wikipedia in such a way that it would provide a methodology blueprint for others do more thorough reviews of online encyclopedias. The results are in, and despite ready acknowledgment of the small sample size and paragraphs worth of other caveats, the parents of Wikipedia can't help but note that its baby was judged to have outperformed other online encyclopedias, including Encyclopedia Britannica, in three different languages. Britannica, which disputed the Wikipedia-friendly results of a much-cited Fortune comparison report back in 2005, has yet to offer a reply to this one."

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In before... (4, Funny)

pinkj (521155) | about 2 years ago | (#40859331)

In before 'citation needed'!

Re:In before... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#40859453)

Payment needed before citation needed

Re:In before... (3, Insightful)

chilvence (1210312) | about 2 years ago | (#40861011)

Much as I love wikipedia, a study of the _innaccuracy_ of it would be more enlightening, rather than a study of its accuracy! No one must forget, the fact that the majority of people contribute truthfully to it just makes the minority of people that dont respect it that much more believable... paradoxically, the more faith you have in wikipedia, the more likely that it is to be co-opted... get your head around that! :)

(that means, I love wikipedia, and I hate lying scumbags, in case you happen to be a lying scumbag and also reading this...)

Re:In before... (1)

JanneM (7445) | about 2 years ago | (#40862135)

"[...]a study of the _innaccuracy_ of it would be more enlightening, rather than a study of its accuracy!"

Just take (1-accuracy). Easy-peasy.

Re:In before... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859543)

You have to wonder who writes the pro-warmongering reports for the U.S. Military. Is it the military themselves, is it the military industrial complex? The evidence strongly suggests a certain Middle-Eastern ally with a blue and white flag is behind it all.

When you're in charge of the goyim and their money, they will do whatever you tell them to. Meanwhile, I will be in my money vault rubbing my hands together with an evil grin.

-- Schlomo Silverstein

Re:In before... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859789)

You have to wonder who writes the pro-warmongering reports for the U.S. Military. Is it the military themselves, is it the military industrial complex? The evidence strongly suggests a certain Middle-Eastern ally with a blue and white flag is behind it all.

When you're in charge of the goyim and their money, they will do whatever you tell them to. Meanwhile, I will be in my money vault rubbing my hands together with an evil grin.

-- Schlomo Silverstein

How was copper wiring invented? Two jews fighting over a penny.

Guess that was a long time ago. They finally learned they can get a lot more pennies by uniting together and running everyone else's media and banks.

Just a FACT. Jews run the media. You could get the top decision makers for all USA media (newspapers and TV and magazines) and comfortably seat them in a one-story house. They'll all be Jewish too. Ted Turner was one exception but once he got out of the biz they made damned sure he didn't get back in.

I'll prove how programmed you and your feelings are. If it was nothing but white men who owned all of the media and banks, you'd say we need more diversity, that this should not be, etc. It is almost exclusively jews at the top levels of the banking and media industries. Where's your urgency for diversity? See how this standard is not evenly applied? The Jews promote the hell out of diversity and multiculturalism but do not practice these themselves because they know it would Balkanize their people, exactly what they want it to do to the rest of us.

Re:In before... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860087)

Bobby Fischer on Jews:

"Jews are anti-social, destructive, intolerant, mean-spirited, deceitful, et cetera. They wish to destroy, rule and kill, rob whoever gets in their way.

To facilitate them getting what they want, they have developed a perverted, unnatural, destructive, evil lifestyle. Even though they live off the non-Jews as parasites, they still hate them and wish to destroy them.

Jews hate nature and the natural order, because it's pure and beautiful, and also because it's bigger and stronger than they are, and they feel that they can not fully control it. Nature's beauty and harmony stands in stark contrast to their squalidness and ugliness, and that makes them hate it all the more.

Jews are destroyers. They are anti-humans. The anti-human Jew hates and wants to destroy all non-Jews. He will also destroy even other Jews who are less destructive and evil than he is, if they get in his way.

Apparently, the wickedness of the Jew is genetically based. Jews are destroyers. They are anti-humans.

By the act of circumcision, the Jew shows his hatred towards nature and the natural order. By this bloody, cruel, senseless act, he shows his cruelty and sadism, and that he will stop at nothing to obtain his ends. Surely the Jews are also behind the Islamic circumcision, which serves as an ideal cover and distraction from their own wickedness in this regard.

Jews are truly anti-human and anti-nature. Jews are intensely selfish, intolerant and anti-social, et cetera. They are full of hate, greed, malice, et cetera. Naturally, other people, i.e. the non-Jews, don't like being bulldozed aside, robbed and murdered by the Jews, and will sooner or later resist. That is where the lies and deceit of the Jews come into play."

Re:In before... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860645)

Next you'll be showing how the libeal haters want people who eat chicken to get cancer you filthy maggot. Yes slash dot continues to show its true classy colors. Maggot liberal idiots bigots in every sense of the word.

Scum all of you.

you reuse words, i make my own words (2, Insightful)

chilvence (1210312) | about 2 years ago | (#40861339)

Dear sir, are you fucking serious?

In case you have not already been informed, jews were the last thing that you and your ilk blamed all of your problems on. As there are many fewer jews now and you evidently still have the same amount of problems, I would have to therefore assume that your problems are unrelated to jews or any other religious sect, and therefore self made, rather than caused by another party. I would further like to say that I would not use the same words as you to describe the motivations of even a savage crocodile, much less another human being.

  In order to charitably appeal to your intellect, I will say perhaps the traits you are so desperate to ascribe to jews are in fact traits of all mankind, that it so dearly would like to hide, and that perhaps simply mankind itself is its own worst enemy, in the absence of any other. Only the likes of you could believe that everything would be completely fine if it werent for those 'pesky kids.'

In summary, go and choke on a dick you shit stirring pseudo intellectual prick, the words that spew from your mouth are a waste of fresh air that none alive wish to hear aside from your own pathetic self.

Re:you reuse words, i make my own words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40861445)

^--this guy here, he is the fucking man.

Re:In before... (2)

Grieviant (1598761) | about 2 years ago | (#40862577)

While it's ridiculous to even bother responding to something like this, I'll give it a go anyway. Portraying Fischer's angry rants about jews as worthy of consideration is nothing more than a thin attempt to equate chess skill with general intelligence, taken to an extreme that even the media and advertisers (who love to abuse this perception) would consider absurd. Would you actually buy a book on running a successful business because it was authored by Garry Kasparov? I seriously hope not.

There are ample quotes floating around on the internet from people who knew Fischer and followed his plight speculating that mental illness played a big part of some of the things he said and did later on in his life. He kept out of the U.S. to avoid taxes and sanctions for playing a match in Yugoslavia, claimed to have been robbed by a Jew managing his finances, and this seems to be the main source of his anti-US and anti-jew ramblings. Hopefully you would agree that this is not a very strong foundation for the statements quoted in your post.

Re:In before... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860119)

Are you saying that Jews are not White Men?

Is Rupert Murdoch jewish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860163)

Take your anti-semitic poison and shove it up your arse.

Oil industry report says oil industry great (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40859333)

And water wet.

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 2 years ago | (#40859395)

This is a known hazard of pulling out a study for your own interests: if it falls against you then you MUST suck, and if it falls in your favor well duh.

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (1)

sohmc (595388) | about 2 years ago | (#40859489)

I don't have a problem with companies/organizations funding studies that test their own policies. The problem comes if they in any way influence the results.

The contract would have to be written basically saying that once the money is received, the benefactor does not have access to the results until published.

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (3, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | about 2 years ago | (#40859553)

That doesn't matter. The fact is that if someone approached me and paid a wad of cash for doing something, unless there were some really weird circumstances at work, I'd probably do my best to please them--or at least, to not piss them off--even if they paid me up front and there were "no strings attached." Plus, if you're the company performing this study, you'd have to consider the possibility that the Wikimedia Foundation might want more studies done in the future, if the results you come up with are beneficial to them.

I've seen this in politics and in corporate studies as well. If at first you don't get a result you agree with, kill the messenger and find someone else to do another study that gives you more favorable results. Bury the first ones and hype the one you like.

While I'm sure there are some organizations and/or corporations who genuinely want completely impartial results, and there are likewise some companies that generate only completely impartial results, I honestly think that it's the exception, not the rule. Any study should be considered extremely suspect that is directly funded by a company or organization it could benefit.

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 2 years ago | (#40859723)

That doesn't matter. The fact is that if someone approached me and paid a wad of cash for doing something, unless there were some really weird circumstances at work, I'd probably do my best to please them--or at least, to not piss them off--even if they paid me up front and there were "no strings attached." Plus, if you're the company performing this study, you'd have to consider the possibility that the Wikimedia Foundation might want more studies done in the future, if the results you come up with are beneficial to them.

I've seen this in politics and in corporate studies as well. If at first you don't get a result you agree with, kill the messenger and find someone else to do another study that gives you more favorable results. Bury the first ones and hype the one you like.

While I'm sure there are some organizations and/or corporations who genuinely want completely impartial results, and there are likewise some companies that generate only completely impartial results, I honestly think that it's the exception, not the rule. Any study should be considered extremely suspect that is directly funded by a company or organization it could benefit.

I think the research groups should commission a study on this. I'd be interested to see the results (or comments on /.)

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (4, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#40859739)

The 'direct funding' is the key. If you want to have someone do impartial research, hire a third party to hire a researcher for you. That way, you don't know who the researcher is, and the researcher doesn't know who the customer is.

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40861873)

That doesn't matter. The fact is that if someone approached me and paid a wad of cash for doing something, unless there were some really weird circumstances at work, I'd probably do my best to please them--or at least, to not piss them off--even if they paid me up front and there were "no strings attached." Plus, if you're the company performing this study, you'd have to consider the possibility that the Wikimedia Foundation might want more studies done in the future, if the results you come up with are beneficial to them.

Still, Britannica haven't funded a similar evaluation, as you might expect them to do if they thought Wikipedia's results were crap and they could get a publicity advantage. ;)

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859627)

I suppose it depends on the purpose of the report. If you need to know what parts of what you do need help, then you don't much care if the overall tone is congratulatory... you're looking for the "fix this" and "continue doing this" parts.

Meanwhile, slashdot is thinking, "zomg you bought good study results as a PR stunt!", even if you didn't much care. Because, on the whole, we're idiots.

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40859831)

You should be wary anyway. Just picking the researchers introduces a bias. Imagine an oil company funding two studies on seal research, and paying Greenpeace for one study, and Halibuton's House'O'Research for the other. From that point on, they could be scrupulously fair, paying both the same amount, and without asking anything more than "are Arctic seals doing better or worse since the Exxon Valdez incident?" I would suspect the results probably wouldn't correlate well (although it would be interesting to see.)

If they funded both studies and published both results together, I would have more confidence in the results. But if they were to sponsor just one study from John's Research, Inc., would you know the biases of JRI? Would it be believable? Or how would you know that the JRI study is the only study they conducted? I have heard of cases where multiple studies were originally funded, but the patron later suppressed the unfavorable results. The case of levothyroxin comes to mind, but I'm not sure that's the whole story.

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (3, Interesting)

bws111 (1216812) | about 2 years ago | (#40859697)

If companies want an honest opinion about their product (whether it is for PR or for competitive analysis), they should hire a third party. This third party should go and hire the research firm, with the research firm not knowing who the customer is, and the customer not knowing who the researcher is.

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859399)

Well, Wikipedia is publishing the methodology and results, so if people have issues with the methodology they can suggest refinements. If they don't have a problem with the methodology, but have a problem with the results, that's *their* problem.

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#40859445)

I think many people will have issues with "the small sample size and paragraphs worth of other caveats".

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (2)

harrkev (623093) | about 2 years ago | (#40859811)

Oh, and the "we used Wikipedia as a reference to verify the accuracy of Wikipedia" part.

>diff wikipedia wikipedia

Look, it matches!!!

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860953)

There's no way that sort of collaborative editing process could possibly work!

Re:Oil industry report says oil industry great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860039)

Oh well, at least they're unanimous.

Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859351)

I bet it has a big old ugly picture of Jimmy Wales across the top.

Obligatory Douglas Adams Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859415)

The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.

The quality and accuracy of some articles is great (5, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40859441)

The quality and accuracy of some articles is great. I would think that most "core" subjects that get a lot of viewers will tend to be of high quality. However look at the entry for so meting obscure, like the town I live in, and you might find something strange. At times there have been mistakes, now corrected - but there is still an odd balance. There is a lot of detail on railway lines that used to go to the station, and what destinations you could reach from the trains.There is a lack of detail on the current geography and economy. Things are driven by people's interests.

Re:The quality and accuracy of some articles is gr (4, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40859517)

The quality and accuracy of some articles is great. I would think that most "core" subjects that get a lot of viewers will tend to be of high quality. However look at the entry for so meting obscure, like the town I live in, and you might find something strange. At times there have been mistakes, now corrected - but there is still an odd balance. There is a lot of detail on railway lines that used to go to the station, and what destinations you could reach from the trains.There is a lack of detail on the current geography and economy. Things are driven by people's interests.

Also, any subject (such as, say, Presidential candidates [pcmag.com] ) that is/can be politicized is likely to be suspect

Re:The quality and accuracy of some articles is gr (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40859631)

Yeah, I would say that on articles that have attracted enough attention to have multiple knowledgeable editors, quality is quite good. Exceptions for some rough spots in very hot-button areas, like Israel-Palestine, where sometimes editors with the wrong motives are attracted.

What I like compared to Britannica is that it's less likely there will be a whopper of an omission in a high-profile article. Some Britannica articles, especially on science/math topics, just have really puzzling stuff missing, or stated incorrectly, while those tend to get found on Wikipedia.

Of course, they're a bit biased with their list, but a few smug Wikipedians actually maintain a list of Britannica errors that Wikipedia has fixed [wikipedia.org] .

Re:The quality and accuracy of some articles is gr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859939)

Yes, some articles and some languages are great.

Others are really atrocious.

For example, a few weeks ago we wondered about the requirements coming from our Indian sales force and google translated the suspiciously short Hindi wikipedia entries...

Re:The quality and accuracy of some articles is gr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860193)

Wikipedia is an undead project, it's finished. The vast majority of the writing was done 5+ years ago, and almost everything since has largely been touch-ups, edit warring, adding citations, and enforcing "consensus". The long-tail of ~uninteresting~ articles are almost entirely unmaintained, you can pretty much go in and write whatever you want and nobody will ever touch it.

The foundation knows the project is dying, but they rake in so much dough they need to keep appearances up.

Re:The quality and accuracy of some articles is gr (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#40863389)

Encyclopedia Britannica, is that you?

Re:The quality and accuracy of some articles is gr (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#40860549)

Precisely - outside of geek culture, pop culture, and the sciences... Wikipedia has some pretty severe quality problems.

Not to mention the traditional Slashdot lament "who is surprised that a study sponsored by Wikipedia finds Wikipedia is accurate?".

Re:The quality and accuracy of some articles is gr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40861973)

The quality and accuracy of some articles is great. I would think that most "core" subjects that get a lot of viewers will tend to be of high quality. However look at the entry for so meting obscure, like the town I live in, and you might find something strange. At times there have been mistakes, now corrected - but there is still an odd balance. There is a lot of detail on railway lines that used to go to the station, and what destinations you could reach from the trains.There is a lack of detail on the current geography and economy. Things are driven by people's interests.

In a conventional encyclopedia your town, along with a lot of other obscure or minor items, wouldn't be mentioned at all.

Smoking is good for your health* (1)

KPU (118762) | about 2 years ago | (#40859457)

* According to a study sponsored by the tabacco industry.

Re:Smoking is good for your health* (2)

pinkj (521155) | about 2 years ago | (#40859511)

Well, 50 millions smokers can't be wrong!

Re:Smoking is good for your health* (3, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40859617)

Well, duh, of course they're going to make cigarettes safe. Think about it. Why would they want their best customers dying off?

Re:Smoking is good for your health* (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#40859703)

Yep, because wikipedia makes so much money off of everyone using all their bandwidth with no ads.

Not Noteworthy (4, Funny)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#40859477)

Unfortunately the study has been deemed Not Noteworthy by one of Wikipedia's editors and been removed.

Re:Not Noteworthy (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 2 years ago | (#40860155)

Thank you for this. That gave me an actually good out loud laugh.

The pitfalls of studying yourself. (2)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#40859481)

If Wikipedia did this study and kept the results to themselves there would be criticisms regarding transparency. Parties who have a self-interest in damaging Wikipedia would have new ammunition.

Very variable. (0)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | about 2 years ago | (#40859497)

Very variable in accuracy.

A few geek-related pages where I have intimate knowledge of the reality, quite often the Wikipedia page is way, way, way off.

And of course if you make an edit, saying "I WAS THERE, I SPENT 3 YEARS working with that thingy, I HAVE SIX OF THEM IN MY ATTIC", your edit gets removed within an hour, time and again.

Sigh.

Re:Very variable. (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40859665)

And of course if you make an edit, saying "I WAS THERE, I SPENT 3 YEARS working with that thingy, I HAVE SIX OF THEM IN MY ATTIC", your edit gets removed within an hour, time and again.

That's what they should do, though! Wikipedia isn't a place to publish your own personal knowledge, but a place to publish information that can be cited, ideally to peer-reviewed articles or books. Half the point of a Wikipedia article is being able to look up the references for further reading, and citation where [3] resolves to "[3] Personal experience of Wikipedia user Ancient_Hacker" just isn't very helpful for that.

Re:Very variable. (-1, Flamebait)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 2 years ago | (#40859841)

That's what they should do, though! Wikipedia isn't a place to publish your own personal knowledge, but a place to publish information that can be cited, ideally to peer-reviewed articles or books.

      So your theory is that it's OK if something is wrong, as long as it is well-sourced?

    Hate to break it to the ivory-tower types, but "peer-review" is basically bullshit in many cases. The ability to get through the review process is hardly any indication of value or correctness. All it means is that you can find sufficient people to sign the damn paper.

Re:Very variable. (3, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#40860259)

No, the theory is that it is OK, as long as there are people not in anyway connected or related to the author being able to continue the maintenance of the article. The problem with personal knowledge is that it gets lost as soon as the person loses interest in wikipedia or is run over by a bus (which in turn also causes a sudden loss of interest in maintaining wikipedia articles). That's the same reason original research is frowned upon - there should always be at least a second person being able to continue where the original author as left. And it helps if you can make yourself knowledgeable about the subject without being referred to Wikipedia articles, if you want to edit Wikipedia articles.

Re:Very variable. (3, Insightful)

IntlHarvester (11985) | about 2 years ago | (#40860969)

Think of it as the Bob Lazar [wikipedia.org] rule. You can't have people adding their weird theories based on unverified personal experience.

And, IMO people tend to over-value certain bits of information based on personal opinions founded at the time. You see this all the time on Slashdot where a poster tries to pull rank by saying stuff like "I was there, I worked at a computer shop in 1998!". They then proceed to get basic facts incorrect (common one: the order of Windows releases), or just parrot some conventional wisdom.

Re:Very variable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40861609)

> So your theory is that it's OK if something is wrong, as long as it is well-sourced?

This.

I have often maintained that the easiest way to get something on wikipedia, is to PUBLISH a book about a topic.

Peer-reviewed (whatever that means) content is not about asserting truth, but about questioning it...so you end up with a skewed representation of "facts". Publishing just takes money. Citation for my view, by me. And that's the story of Wikipedia.

Re:Very variable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40862029)

As long as it's well sourced, you can check the source for yourself and make up your own mind about whether it's right or wrong.

Re:Very variable. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859853)

So, you are arguing that incorrect and /wrong/ information is preferable to true and accurate information?

You're arguing that Wikipedia being factually inaccurate is a /strength/?

No wonder so many people view the place as a joke.

Hail truethink, doubleplus ungood reditors citationmaster!

Re:Very variable. (3, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 2 years ago | (#40860215)

No. They are arguing that verifiable information is better then "Take my word for it" information.

In an ideal world, if the "take my word for it" information is true, then it should get tested, verified, and published somewhere so that it can move into the "verifiable" information category.

Re:Very variable. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40861025)

In science, at least, what is considered "correct" is more or less decided through the peer-review process. If something is not described in a citable, peer-reviewed article, it's just not science, and shouldn't be discussed in Wikipedia articles. It might be true, but Wikipedia's not the place to break that new finding. It should go through peer-review first, and then Wikipedia will write about it once it's published.

Re:Very variable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40861871)

In science, at least, what is considered "correct" is more or less decided through the peer-review process. If something is not described in a citable, peer-reviewed article, it's just not science, and shouldn't be discussed in Wikipedia articles. It might be true, but Wikipedia's not the place to break that new finding. It should go through peer-review first, and then Wikipedia will write about it once it's published.

Great, what about all other subjects, and assuming for a minute that all books are of good quality and unbiased, what ratio of references from books and peer reviewed papers? Who verifies quality of references at all? My problem is at any given point of time, the quality of Wikipedia sucks ass to a large degree. It may slowly improve over time, but stabalizes at a level of suck that you expect from the Internet.

Re:Very variable. (2, Funny)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 2 years ago | (#40860377)

Wikipedia isn't a place to publish your own personal knowledge, but a place to publish information that can be cited, ideally to peer-reviewed articles or books.

If you really believe that, they may not be hope for you.

Wikipedia is all about certain people taking over articles and, accuracy be damned, making sure those articles reflect the viewpoints of those people.

Re:Very variable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860757)

[citation needed] crybaby.

Re:Very variable. (1)

miltonw (892065) | about 2 years ago | (#40860811)

"Citation nee....

Oh, never mind.

Re:Very variable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40861733)

Wikipedia isn't a place to publish your own personal knowledge, but a place to publish information that can be cited, ideally to peer-reviewed articles or books.

Says who?

Half the point of a Wikipedia article is being able to look up the references for further reading,

Then it's not very useful, because Google is better for that.

and citation where [3] resolves to "[3] Personal experience of Wikipedia user Ancient_Hacker" just isn't very helpful for that.

No, but it's damn helpful for those of us who want to learn from experienced people....who often know a great deal more about the subject in question than some guy who wrote one of the reference books.

Re:Very variable. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40861867)

So how do I know that some random Wikipedia user is not bullshitting me, if his/her citation is "I know this from personal experience"? How do you distinguish between real physics and fringe-physics kooks?

Re:Very variable. (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 2 years ago | (#40859807)

Well you are breaking the rules. This is to ensure accuracy. If you want them to change something, you have to have a reference-able source. So go write the book on it, get a newspaper article published or something, then reference it in Wikipedia as you make the change.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research#Primary.2C_secondary_and_tertiary_sources [wikipedia.org]

Re:Very variable. (2)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 2 years ago | (#40860113)

Well you are breaking the rules. This is to ensure accuracy.

      I think we know the rules. The issue is that they are foolish. They do no ensure accuracy, in fact, in the case you are responding to, it ensures that is it IS NOT accurate.

      Other than that, well done.

Re:Very variable. (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 2 years ago | (#40860257)

Instead of reply, I'll give you a xkcd ... http://xkcd.com/978/ [xkcd.com] :P

Re:Very variable. (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#40860523)

Dammit!
I am right and I know I am right.
Take your well sourced "truth" and shove it up your ass!
My word is gold. You just have to trust my IP address that I know for a fact that you are wrong.

Umm. You know that was sarcastic. Right?

Re:Very variable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860229)

Much simplier to create a blog, write up your story and then reference it in the wikipedia article.

Re:Very variable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860059)

Just post your "personal knowledge" to a blog, and the wikignomes will do all the work for you.

Re:Very variable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40861653)

I edit on wiki like I post on slashdot: write / improve what I think will improve the page, and then leave.
I see being an AC on /. much like being a non-Wiki-person editing on Wikipedia: occasionally, your contributions may actually stand, but usually, the moderators/editors will ignore/undo/downmod you.

To which I say: so be it. If my contributions (such as this post) are not good enough to stand on their own according to the wisdom of the crowd they're supposed to cater for, then they rightfully go down.

Every democracy gets the leaders it deserves, every wikipedia article gets the edits it deserves, and every slashdot article gets the comments it deserves.

Re:Very variable. (1)

yusing (216625) | about 2 years ago | (#40862859)

If you have specific objections to the content based on substantial personal knowledge/experience - but don't have time to do the editing (preferable) or to look up a bunch of citations - then bring your points up in the TALK page.

There they -will- be seen be serious editor(s) and (eventually) will be dealt with. The time this takes can vary from days to years. Faster results may result from snagging an ear in one of the community forums.

The tobacco industry... (2)

jmerlin (1010641) | about 2 years ago | (#40859555)

found that cigarettes do not cause cancer. Additionally, smoking cigarettes has the following benefits, probably demonstrated by Tobacco research:

They increase your coolness factor by 5 points.
They increase your expected annual salary by 15%
They increase the likelihood that you will get laid on any given night by 23%
They decrease the risk of looking like an idiot, since nobody standing around smoking a cigarette can look like an idiot.
They cause weight gain or weight loss, depending on whether you want to gain or lose.
They cure the common cold, reduce flu symptoms to 1 day, and potentially cure cancer (we're still checking on that one).
They inhibit the AIDS virus, no seriously.
They also increase lung capacity, so if you want to be an Olympic athlete, you should smoke cigarettes!

In all seriousness, what self-funded studies that find negative things are actually published? You should expect that a headline saying "X funded self study Y" where X is some business that is commonly cited to have some problem and Y is some contention to that commonly held problem. I'm citing this as jMerliN's law of headlines.

Re:The tobacco industry... (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | about 2 years ago | (#40859671)

Incorrect about lung capacity; they do not increase it. Rather, they slowly wither away the lungs, causing the body to adapt to the new changes and therefore conform by retrieving oxygen from other varied sources (e.g. cigarettes). It's the biggest reason why cigarettes are the preferred remedy for those suffering from asthma.

May contain... (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | about 2 years ago | (#40859569)

This article may contain original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding references. Statements consisting only of original research may be removed.

This is interesting because... (1, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#40859595)

...Wikipedia is a hear-say site and this is established by their own policy that limits their liability. In other words: Wikipedia only allows what can be found already published. This was further exposed when through trickery an entry was made that did not yet have other published but upon wikipedia publishing the other made a reference to wikipedia and then the wikipedia article was edited to point to that article as a reference.... And it was found out and the article removed. I don't recall what article that was.
 

Re:This is interesting because... (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#40859689)

Here's [wikipedia.org] a Wikipedia meta-page on that last problem you mention, which they call "fact laundering".

(Incidentally, happens outside Wikipedia too, especially among circularly-referencing newspapers.)

Re:This is interesting because... (0)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#40860825)

They should just call it Fox Newsing.

Re:This is interesting because... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40861481)

They should just call it Fox Newsing.

Aw, shucks, beat me to it...

To boost my self esteem... (1)

sapgau (413511) | about 2 years ago | (#40859609)

I'm going to commission a study to find out why I am so awesome...
I will keep you posted with the results.

Re:To boost my self esteem... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 2 years ago | (#40860589)

I don't care why, I just commissioned a study to find out that "I am awesome!" For $50 grand I can do a study, using the same or similar methodology to find out that you are awesome too.

Re:To boost my self esteem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860671)

I'm going to commission a study to find out why I am so awesome... I will keep you posted with the results.

Cool. I look forward to seeing it published. If I don't hear anything, I'll assume the study showed you aren't awesome.

Wikipedia needs admins with social skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859693)

Unfortunatley, the requirements to become an admin is so high that Wikipedia is running out of admins and that the admins that remian tend to be very rude and anti social. I left Wikipedia because admins like to think they are TSA employees.

It's things like this (1, Interesting)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 2 years ago | (#40859797)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sega_megadrive [wikipedia.org]

This redirects to Sega Genesis, even though it was only known as this in North America.

However, a vote took place on what to call it and as a result of this vote, it's referred to as the Genesis, which is wrong.

It crap like this that makes me wonder what other facts have been altered.

Re:It's things like this (1)

truetorment (919200) | about 2 years ago | (#40860221)

I don't understand what you're saying here. Was the MegaDrive an entirely different product? If it wasn't, then how is the redirection inappropriate? Also, they specifically say in the first sentence, "The Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive outside North America". Is that not correct? If you have sources that cite otherwise, why wouldn't you just update the article?

Re:It's things like this (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 2 years ago | (#40860271)

How is the information wrong? It has multiple names. The majority of users chose to go with the North American name. The pages still shows the logo for both names, and even makes mention of both names in the first sentence. There has been no altering of facts.

Re:It's things like this (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#40860599)

This does not in any way prohibit him from "getting all pissy" about it.

Re:It's things like this (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | about 2 years ago | (#40860855)

True... That is what posting on the internet is all about.

Re:It's things like this (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#40860327)

The correct solution to this problem is to regionalize the name, just as the OEM did for the product.

Eg, for japanese wikipedia, they should refer to the NES as the Famicom, and the SNES as the super famicom.

The US version should refer the Famicom to the NES, and the SuperFamicom to the SNES.

Both articles should point out the minor design differences found in the regionalized console offerings. (For instance, the famicom has a microphone built into the controller, and a few other neat things the NES does not have.)

It isn't hard to regionalize an HTTP request. BBC does it all the time with iplayer requests, and youtube does too, as des CBS, HBO, and a host of others.

If you are searching form Europe, and look for "sega genesis", it should redirect you to "sega megadrive", with a disambiguation paragraph explaining the action.

Likewise, if in the US, and you look for megadrive, it should direct you to genesis, with a similar explanation.

That is the correct way to address it.

Re:It's things like this (2)

truetorment (919200) | about 2 years ago | (#40860497)

Okay, after reading through http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Sega_Genesis [wikipedia.org] , it's all fairly clear: you're upset because the consensus on the name didn't match your preference. I don't see why this "makes [you] wonder what other facts have been altered". That's absolutely ridiculous.

Re:It's things like this (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#40861035)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sega_megadrive [wikipedia.org]

This redirects to Sega Genesis, even though it was only known as this in North America.

Goshers, the English edition of Wikipedia refers to the Sega Megadrive/Genesis by the name most native English-speakers called it! That's an outrage!

Re:It's things like this (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#40861081)

In case you were wondering, the Japanese page is indeed filed under "MegaDrive" (or rather, "ãfããfãf©ããf-").

Re:It's things like this (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#40861117)

Gotta love Slashdot's total inability to handle UTF. I have no idea how to make actually display the correct katakana.

Re:It's things like this (2)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 years ago | (#40863267)

This redirects to Sega Genesis, even though it was only known as this in North America.

However, a vote took place on what to call it and as a result of this vote, it's referred to as the Genesis, which is wrong.

How is the name "Genesis" "wrong" in any sense at all? One sentence up you said it was the correct name used in "North America".

So the article is filed under "Genesis", there's a working redirect from "Megadrive", and the article correctly mentions the dual-naming issue at the very top.

There is nothing factually incorrect about any of that. Furthermore, I'm not aware of any Wikipedia policy that has any opinion on which of the two names should be preferred for the article title.

If you want a REAL example of Wikipedia's problems, try the Fractal Antenna [wikipedia.org] article, which has been jealously guarded by employees of "Fractal Antenna Systems" run by "Nathan Cohen" for YEARS and YEARS. Do a geoIP lookup of the anonymous editors, or read some of the crap that's gone on in the talk page of that article, and you'll see a flood of damming evidence. References that dispute the effectiveness of fractal antennas over conventional antennas, and links to competitors like Fractus, have been repeatedly removed by same said editors.

Admins have stepped-in and blocked anonymous edits from time to time, but once the ban is lifted, bias-pushing continues. Admins generally refuse to step-in for anything other than the most flagrant vandalism, which isn't the case here, and reclassify it as a content dispute, which has a remediation process that will kill you of old age before anything is accomplished, and that's for EACH INCIDENT, and each different editor.

So what do we do with Wikipedia? Try to get competitors to have their own shill compete with FAS? Balance it out with mutual combat, or will the one willing to spend the most money just win, and turn it permanently to his POV?

WIkipedia's policies are an unbelievably ineffective, bureaucratic mess, that will never handle POV-pushing such as this. Instead, the "good" articles on wikipedia just happen to have WP admins interested in them, and willing to completely ignore WP policies to block such subtle vandalism. This is an incredibly inefficient process, and one doomed to ultimately fail under it's own weight.

Wikipedia (1)

Pnarp (892014) | about 2 years ago | (#40860437)

I always have wonderful [pnarp.com] experiences using Wikipedia for information. I sometimes even survive without major injury!

Wikipedia fail: Mitt Romney article (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860475)

Here's an example of a Wikipedia fail:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_Romney [wikipedia.org]

Now, could you please explain to me why the article has this level of detail about his high school years:

At Cranbrook, Romney was a manager for the ice hockey team and a member of the pep squad,[19] and during his final year joined the cross country running team.[15] He belonged to eleven school organizations and school clubs, and started the Blue Key Club booster group.[19] During his final year at Cranbook, he improved academically, but was still not a star pupil.[18][20] He won an award for those "whose contributions to school life are often not fully recognized through already existing channels".[20] Romney was involved in many pranks.

In March of his senior year, he began dating Ann Davies; she attended the private Kingswood School, the sister school to Cranbrook.[20][26] The two informally agreed to marriage around the time of his June 1965 graduation.[18]

But does not mention once the fact that five different witnesses have come forward saying he brutally bullied a kid in high school by cutting off his hair.

Can you say Wikipedia fail?

In other news... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#40860795)

Microsoft-sponsored study shows Windows has lowest TCO of all operating systems EVARRRRRRR

Not the issue (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40860961)

People aren't mad over Wikipedia's overall accuracy level, which I'm sure is fantastic. They're mad that they can edit any single specific thing to say whatever they want. I don't care if Wikipedia is 99.999999% accurate if I can hit edit and say Barack Obama was born on Mars. It's importance of information combined with ease of editing it that makes Wikipedia lose all respect.

Re:Not the issue (2)

gnetwerker (526997) | about 2 years ago | (#40862299)

This is certainly true, but only half the issue. Wikipedia is justly distrusted because, at any given moment, an article may have been subtly vandalized, astroturfed, tilted in tone, or just plain wrong. Far more important is the ludicrous idea, central to Wikipedia, that any given editor is just as likely to be accurate as any other, without regard to knowledge or experience, that any editor may edit anonymously, and that any system for establishing identity, real-world reputation and (crucially) expertise (even if it is only expertise in interpreting the citations) is anathema.

This gets you teen-agers arguing with Math PhDs about math, and zealots and partisans of all stripes arguing with everyone. Expertise is central to the concept of an encyclopedia, and Wikipedia and its community thoroughly reject and repudiate it. This, indeed, may be well-adapted to some things, but writing a true encyclopedia is not one of them. As someone once said, on Wikipedia, twenty teenage idiots and one expert are indistinguishable from twenty-one teenage idiots.

Wikipedia is a big old pile of trivia, opinion, gossip, libel, and misinformation. That it is sometimes correct is happenstance, not planning.

Re:Not the issue (1)

yusing (216625) | about 2 years ago | (#40862891)

Try that on a frequently-seen article and see how it takes to get fixed. And (if serious enough) get you banned.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40862067)

In a recent study published by me, 10 out of 10 women find me extremely attractive. Opponents of the study (such as Steve, my roommate) have been dismissed by the study as "highly biased and exceedingly jealous." Furthermore, it was found that "haters be hatin'."
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