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Wikipedia Is Nearing "Completion"

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the citation-needed dept.

Wikipedia 248

Hugh Pickens writes "According to Rebecca J. Rosen, it may seem impossible for an encyclopedia of everything to ever near completion, but at least for the major articles on topics like big wars, important historical figures, and central scientific concepts, the English-language Wikipedia is pretty well filled out. 'After an encyclopedia reaches 100,000 articles, the pool of good material shrinks. By the time one million articles are written, it must tax ingenuity to think of something new. Wikipedia,' writes historian and Wikipedia editor Richard Jensen, 'passed the four-million-article mark in summer 2012.' With the exciting work over, editors are losing interest. In the spring of 2012, 3,300 editors contributed more than 100 edits per month each — that's a 31 percent drop from spring of 2007, when that number was 4,800. For example, let's take the Wikipedia article for the War of 1812 which runs 14,000 words cobbled together by 3,000 editors. Today, the War of 1812 page has many more readers than it did in 2008 — 623,000 compared with 434,000 — but the number who make a change has dropped precipitously, from 256 to just 28. Of those original 256, just one remains active. The reason, Jensen believes, is that the article already has had so many edits, there is just not that much to do. Jensen says Wikipedia should now devote more resources toward getting editors access to higher-quality scholarship (in private databases like JSTOR), admission to military-history conferences, and maybe even training in the field of historiography, so that they could bring the articles up to a more polished, professional standard. 'Wikipedia is now a mature reference work with a stable organizational structure and a well-established reputation. The problem is that it is not mature in a scholarly sense (PDF).'"

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Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41778103)

This is the one where upon completion of recording all worthwhile knowledge, Wikipedia writes the final article describing Wikipedia itself. Following that, it detonates a bomb that implodes the universe back to a singularity so that no new information can be created and its volumes are complete for eternity. Luckily, as a Slashdot user, Wikipedia knows absolutely nothing about me or my intentions so I'll just take my Scooty Puff Jr. here over to the Wikimedia Foundation's servers ...

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778177)

Luckily, as a Slashdot user, Wikipedia knows absolutely nothing about me or my intentions ...

Wrong! [wikipedia.org]

We Know Eveything (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778335)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Eldavojohn

You Caught Me! (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41778747)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Eldavojohn

Hoisted by my own petard!

Whelp, here I am trapped for all eternity listening to Jimmy Wales sing a 12.7 second fair use clip of "American Pie" at 64kbit/s in ogg vorbis as punishment. I guess I deserve this.

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (5, Interesting)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41778343)

I'd rather everyone just moved on to simple.wikipedia.org now. Many of the articles are waaay too dense for me to grok, and most of the 'simple' versions just don't exist yet.

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (4, Insightful)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#41778715)

Articles in regular Wikipedia on more advanced topics—especially in mathematics—could do with some work in that direction, too.

Certainly the articles don't need to be dumbed down overall, but it would be nice if at least the introductory paragraph were comprehensible to someone who hasn't spent years studying the topic, or hours following an ever-growing tree of other articles the summary links to (and others that those summaries link to, and so on) just to try to understand a majority of the nouns and verbs therein. It's often difficult to even guess at what kind of thing the article concerns without opening at least a half-dozen other tabs.

Maybe some of the articles can't be explained, even at a high level, in simpler language, but the sheer quantity of summaries that drive me to a link-following frenzy in an effort to grasp their basic meaning lead me to believe that a lot of the editors and authors in some areas of Wikipedia aren't good at explaining their field to laymen, don't care about doing so, or don't want anyone to do so.

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (5, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about 2 years ago | (#41778813)

Articles in regular Wikipedia on more advanced topics—especially in mathematics—could do with some work in that direction, too.

Certainly the articles don't need to be dumbed down overall, but it would be nice if at least the introductory paragraph were comprehensible to someone who hasn't spent years studying the topic, or hours following an ever-growing tree of other articles the summary links to (and others that those summaries link to, and so on) just to try to understand a majority of the nouns and verbs therein. It's often difficult to even guess at what kind of thing the article concerns without opening at least a half-dozen other tabs.

I agree. The first page of any math article should be easily accessible to someone with a BS in a STEM field

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778877)

While there are a lot of articles that could still use better introductions, some fields, especially mathematics, are written with almost a programmer's mindset of modularity and effort to remove redundancy. Since a lot of math builds upon other concepts, instead of just repeating the explanation of such concepts, generous use of links to other articles are used as an effort to reduce maintenance effort. This can make reading much more difficult if jumping into something deep into a field you are not experienced with. Assuming the article is dense, but well linked, you could end up with dozens of browser tabs open trying to understand the definition. Kind of the nice thing about math is you can actually learn it by assembling the pieces, although it takes a lot of time. But in the end, many of those concepts are going to be difficult and time consuming to learn without an appropriate background. And while articles could handle some repetition in terms of introducing the concept and field that a particular concept falls under, at some point a line has to be draw such that you don't end up with every article trying to teach a whole subfield of background.

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (5, Insightful)

skids (119237) | about 2 years ago | (#41779155)

This. The math articles are actually very good, but you have to make it past the hurdle of being able to comprehend WTF the article is about before you can appreciate the power of all the crosslinks. Many of them drop almost immediately into notations, which even if notations don't scare you off, generally aren't very helpful to the objective of description. Also they follow the general mathematical convention of "here's a big bunch of symbols, now here is what each symbol means" instead of what humans naturally need: here is thing thing, we'll use symbol to represent it, and here are these other things with these symbols, and what's going tpo happen is we are going to divide this generic concept by this other generic concept and add this other thing and now here's the big mess of symbols that describes exaclty how we go about that and here are a few things you might want to notice in that big mess of symbols because they are important/interesting."

It always amazes me after studying a mathematical topic how easy it is to picture the very simple structure of meaning after you already understand it, but how very hard it was to upload that simple structure from the printed page to the wetware. I often hold out hope that a true talent for visual art combined with modern multimedia might make that whole process much smoother. I keep meaning to suggest teaming students from our art department with math students to try to come up with art/video that explains math.

What I would not like to see is what we see on things like the Science channel where documentaries about scientific subjects are really just human interest stories about the scientists involved. That material should be on its own page, except for the tie-ins.

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41779219)

Its not so much that they're dense, many of them are so badly written as to be almost illegible. I appreciate that there's a reason good writers get paid, but some sort of an effort to make it not so much like a manual for a DVD player might be an idea.

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41778379)

I thought it was when Colossus and Guardian joined forces to protect and enslave the human race...

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (3, Funny)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41778425)

Wikipedia writes the final article describing Wikipedia itself

Hurry - that final article [wikipedia.org] already exists... Though you really need the Scooty Puff Snr if you want to succeed.

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#41778843)

Always will be an incomplete article, the one that links all the articles that don't link to themselves. See? no need for ending the univer

Re:Oh Yeah, I Remember This Episode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779493)

Scooty Puff Jr. suuuuuuuuu------ccksssss~

Coulnd't add to it if you wanted to (5, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#41778183)

Not for nothing, but Wiki editors are so obtuse and didactic, that attempting to add anything of relevance has become a chore unworthy of its meritlessness.

Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41778237)

Not all Wikipedia editors are as obtuse as you claim. Let me reiterate the comment I made on the submission [slashdot.org] : If particular editors are violating Wikipedia's policy against ownership-like behavior [wikipedia.org] by not allowing a consensus to form after discussion of a reverted edit on an article's talk page [wikipedia.org] , consider using the various dispute resolution means in the Wikipedia community.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (5, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#41778403)

Not all Wikipedia editors are as obtuse as you claim. Let me reiterate the comment I made on the submission [slashdot.org] : If particular editors are violating Wikipedia's policy against ownership-like behavior [wikipedia.org] by not allowing a consensus to form after discussion of a reverted edit on an article's talk page [wikipedia.org] , consider using the various dispute resolution means in the Wikipedia community.

Exactly what a Wikipedia editor would post.
But seriously, when you try to argue with a senior editor know what everyone tells you? Read the 20 awesome Wikipedia entries that validate their statements, however unjustifiable they are in real arguement.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (3, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41778609)

Not all Wikipedia editors are as obtuse as you claim. Let me reiterate the comment I made on the submission [slashdot.org] : If particular editors are violating Wikipedia's policy against ownership-like behavior [wikipedia.org] by not allowing a consensus to form after discussion of a reverted edit on an article's talk page [wikipedia.org] , consider using the various dispute resolution means in the Wikipedia community.

Exactly what a Wikipedia editor would post.

And he used citations! That's a total give away! You know you're talking to one of them when they embed properly formatted URLs into their posts. It instantly invalidates anything they're trying to tell you, too!

But seriously, when you try to argue with a senior editor know what everyone tells you? Read the 20 awesome Wikipedia entries that validate their statements, however unjustifiable they are in real arguement.

Oh you are preaching to the choir! Sometimes when I'm in one of those Northern states I have to wonder if a senior Wikipedia editor ever used the same drinking fountain I'm using! I mean, what if they were talking about the 20 awesome Wikipedia entries just before their dirty dirty mouths touched that faucet?! Gross!

Something needs to be done about them people ... now I know why they continually destroyed the Library of Alexandria. Let's get Jimmy Wales' address from his Florida public voting registration and burn a W on his front lawn!

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (2)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#41778977)

... now I know why they continually destroyed the Library of Alexandria.

I was confused earlier. Now more so.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41779145)

... now I know why they continually destroyed the Library of Alexandria.

I was confused earlier. Now more so.

Damnit, if only there was some way to look up the history of the Library of Alexandria ... some online resource that could instantly serve us up a good enough but referenced version of history and .... NO no, do not give in! Remain strong brother, we can rely on things we think we heard in history class 20 years ago. That will suffice! I'm pretty sure that the Library of Alexandria was brought to ruins several times and I will fight you if you accuse me of being wrong. Let us settle this with fisticuffs like we did in the long long ago before Wikipedia in the time of Whiskey where pedantry was relegated to nerds' basements and we were safe to carouse about drunk on ignorance and were correct-ish in our retelling of history! 'Tis a far far better fate than to let senior editors revert our edits to some snobbish central repository.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779433)

LMGTFY

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

It was destroyed 4 times over 700 years, hardly "continually"

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779261)

drinking fountain

bubbler... and it's duck, duck GOOSE!

lol, j/k

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779273)

grey duck

It begins ...

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779101)

What is the alternative though? Get rid of those policies so that people just revert your edits anyways without any attempt at validation? There are jerks in the world, and the system doesn't get rid of them, as they adapt. But it does at least try to give some options. Policy evolves into almost legalese in complexity to avoid loopholes and to minimize people who abuse the policies. The key should be "minimize" not "get rid of," as the latter is unrealistic.

Regardless of policy, there will be people with too much time on their hands. If you have no policy, they will brute force ownership of an article by out editing you. If you have complicated policy, they will try obscure, strung together references to make policy look like it works for them. If you have simple policies, they might just easily abuse it against you. At least as is, there are some options with a little time or luck you can find in your favor, and places to ask for help from people with more time. If you want a solution that requires no extra effort, that might not be possible in the real world.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778519)

I think what he's calling "a chore unworthy of its meritlessness" is exactly the kind of thing you're describing.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (5, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#41778563)

And one of Wikipedia's sock puppets/cheerleaders chimes in as expected with his "it's all sweetness and light if you follow the bureaucracy and play Wikipedia the Role Playing Game" posts...

You just don't get it do you? It's exactly that all that bullcrap, favoring those who play Wikipedia The Role Playing Game over those who want to do the work, that has driven the latter away. The lunatics are now running the asylum.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (1, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about 2 years ago | (#41778687)

And one of Wikipedia's sock puppets/cheerleaders chimes in as expected with his "it's all sweetness and light if you follow the bureaucracy and play Wikipedia the Role Playing Game" posts...

You just don't get it do you? It's exactly that all that bullcrap, favoring those who play Wikipedia The Role Playing Game over those who want to do the work, that has driven the latter away. The lunatics are now running the asylum.

What you say reminds me of American politics and our legal system.

And it is probably caused by exactly the same thing - an attempt to make a system both reasonably easy for reasonable people to use while at the same time guarding against abuses while at the same time trying to give people equal treatment.

It's a hard thing to do.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41778975)

And it is probably caused by exactly the same thing - an attempt to make a system both reasonably easy for reasonable people to use while at the same time guarding against abuses while at the same time trying to give people equal treatment.

It's a hard thing to do.

When something turns out to be too hard to do, one might consider, you know, not doing it.

Somalipedia (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41779259)

[The lunacy in both Wikipedia policy and U.S. federal law arises from] an attempt to make a system both reasonably easy for reasonable people to use while at the same time guarding against abuses while at the same time trying to give people equal treatment. It's a hard thing to do.

When something turns out to be too hard to do, one might consider, you know, not doing it.

But what's the alternative to making policy? Is it anarchy, where every article's text is controlled by whoever can push out penis pill spam fastest?

Encyclopedia Dramatica (4, Insightful)

fyi101 (2715891) | about 2 years ago | (#41779569)

I'm completely devastated about the current state of Wikipedia, just like you, I hate all this bureaucratic crap. That's why I take all my factually correct information from Encyclopedia Dramatica [encyclopediadramatica.se] , where the asylum is running the inmates. Why have bureaucracy when you can have "bureaucrazy"?

But seriously, do you expect something as vast and ambitious as Wikipedia to exist without a somewhat intimidating rulebook? I'm not saying Wikipedians shouldn't be more welcoming or helpful, or that they're not, perhaps the problem is related to the way the site is structured. It's not easy for newcomers to find their way around the place, or around the people.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778725)

Could you possibly disprove yourself any better? I think not.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779011)

1. Nerd kid build sand castle on beach.
2. Jock bully kicks over and destroys sand castle.
3. Nerd kid goes to complain to authorities.
4. Nerd kid learns jock bully is really popular with beachgoers because he is the star quarterback of local football team.
5. Jock bully gets a free pass because of this. No punishment, sand castle remains destroyed.
6. Nerd kid is no longer trusted among beachgoers due to bringing "baseless" accusations against popular kid. Further complaints are ignored.
7. Nerd kid stops building sand castles and stops trusting beachgoers.
8. Beachgoers wonder why nobody builds sand castles any more.

It's far, far easier to destroy than to create or rebuild. When you have a culture that supports unchecked destruction by the popular kids, you drive out the culture that wants to create or rebuild. Having a complaint system doesn't help; the culture is still based around destruction, not creation. Moreso when said complaint system only serves to scare the new kids away from complaining by setting up a bureaucracy that, even when followed to completion, only serves to remind the new kids that the popular kids are more popular than they are, so their decisions stand.

Re:Violations of Wikipedia:Ownership (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779031)

Not all Wikipedia editors are as obtuse as you claim. Let me reiterate the comment I made on the submission [slashdot.org] : If particular editors are violating Wikipedia's policy against ownership-like behavior [wikipedia.org] by not allowing a consensus to form after discussion of a reverted edit on an article's talk page [wikipedia.org] , consider using the various dispute resolution means in the Wikipedia community.

The question is, after being rejected like that do I care sufficiently to follow up through a complaints procedure? Or do I just walk away and not bother posting to Wikipedia again.

My guess is that a lot of the people do care enough are also the people who are strongly opinionated about the page they're trying to edit, and probably deserved the rejection.

The majority that don't bother to follow up are more likely to have been the ones that might have been useful contributors. ....but I guess we'll never know for sure.

Re:Coulnd't add to it if you wanted to (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778245)

Mod parent up +infinity

Re:Coulnd't add to it if you wanted to (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#41778785)

Not to mention that tons and tons of bias and misleading comments escape articles instantly once a company realizes they can pay people to "manage" their wiki page - aka every technology page on wikipedia.

In addition to the fact that it will never be nearing completion, the phrasing is simply incorrect.

Re:Coulnd't add to it if you wanted to (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41778823)

Not only editors, but the various scripts that automatically undo any and all changes to articles without anyone even looking at the changes.

It's become such a chore and so many hoops to jump through to add or correct wikipedia that I'm not surprised that people won't bother anymore.

Revert bots (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41779377)

Not only editors, but the various scripts that automatically undo any and all changes to articles without anyone even looking at the changes.

You mean bots like ClueBot NG and XLinkBot? If you've been around for four days and make ten edits, a lot of those anti-vandal bots will stop reverting you. Some of them are also engineered to be aware of their imperfections and won't revert the same user on the same article more than once in a day, and they tend to have processes to report false positives.

Re:Coulnd't add to it if you wanted to (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779019)

Not to mention paid shills. Try criticizing a large successful corporation, see how many minutes that lasts. Or presenting a fact in any important article that isn't part of the official creed and you'll instantly be called a conspiracy theorist and reverted until kingdom come and attacked with think rulebooks. Nevermind any references, reliable or not, you'll get slapped around with "undue weight" and other similar catch-all tools.

Toe the line bitch.

Re:Coulnd't add to it if you wanted to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779093)

Agreed. I put up with bureaucratic $#!+ at work like that only because they pay me for it. Wikipedia can go pound sand.

Terrible editing culture (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778199)

Hey, here's a thought: Maybe the reason fewer people are editing Wikipedia articles is because 90% of the time, edits get instantly reverted by some spaz who's jealously guarding their page, typos and all. I've made a half-dozen edits to Wikipedia, and every single one of them has been reverted within an hour or two. And we're not talking factual or debatable edits here, I'm referring to things like incorrect usage of it's/its or adding a citation.

Re:Terrible editing culture (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778337)

Hey, here's a thought: Maybe the reason fewer people are editing Wikipedia articles is because 90% of the time, edits get instantly reverted by some spaz who's jealously guarding their page, typos and all. I've made a half-dozen edits to Wikipedia, and every single one of them has been reverted within an hour or two. And we're not talking factual or debatable edits here, I'm referring to things like incorrect usage of it's/its or adding a citation.

Diffs or or it didn't happen!

Re:Terrible editing culture (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 2 years ago | (#41778769)

Diffs or or it didn't happen!

I was going to go with

[citation needed]

BOLD, revert, discuss (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41778415)

edits get instantly reverted by some spaz who's jealously guarding their page, typos and all. I've made a half-dozen edits to Wikipedia, and every single one of them has been reverted within an hour or two.

Was it the same jealous palsy patient [wikipedia.org] every time, or someone different every time? And did you try discussing the reverts on the article's talk page [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:BOLD, revert, discuss (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778779)

I usually just post changes to the talk page. Insult the reverting editor and such for good measure. Ensures someone with power reads it and might do the actual edit. It at least stays up longer since reverting isn't SOP for the talk page.

Re:Terrible editing culture (3, Insightful)

lkcl (517947) | about 2 years ago | (#41778899)

i've also encountered problems, especially with technical articles where the "common wisdom" is terribly misinformed. i won't mention which articles because i was so alarmed and intimidated by the unwelcoming way in which those people who were better informed of wikipedia's "policies" used those policies to bully their way towards reverting everything back towards the ignorant and technically mis-informed perspectives left me feeling very much like i never want to edit wikipedia ever again.

the problem with these particular articles is that they are highly scientifically technical, yet quite obscure at the same time. one of them people wanted to believe that the technology would fail: it is therefore full of a scientific "review" which, wrongly, concludes that the technology could not possibly work. the other, people want to believe that the technology would *succeed*. and, because there *are* no successful examples of that technology, there are no successful products out there which can be used to demonstrate that the wikipedia article is plain wrong and misleading people!

in both cases, the lack of citeable material resulted in an edit war verging on vandalism, and in the end i went "fuck it, i don't need the hassle" and walked away. in neither case were the reviewers welcoming: in one case they actually believed that *i* was the vandal, in direct contravention of wikipedia's "welcoming" policy which is supposed to assume that all contributors are acting with integrity. in fact what had happened was that i had not logged in, so was editing by IP address purely by mistake, and, because of what followed and the level of intimidation and abuse directed at me i am extremely glad that i *did* make that mistake.

wikipedia has a lot to answer for.

Re:Terrible editing culture (0, Troll)

NotBorg (829820) | about 2 years ago | (#41778935)

Link to the history of your unspecified articles or you're a troll. 90% of comments like yours are exaggerated and based off of the perception granted by listening to the internet echo chamber. Your post is devoid supporting evidence and sounds like an echo to me.

I'm not saying this type of thing doesn't happen. I'm saying that I doubt you've participated in Wikipedia enough to make such a wide generalization. What did you do to try to resolve the issue?

Re:Terrible editing culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779311)

I can vouch that it happened to me, but I find posting to /. unpaid is more entertaining than posting to Wikipedia and having my helpful proofreading auto-undone by bots. Why should I waste more of my time there?

posting anon since i'm at work >____>

Could you give some examples of when you've done corrections but it hasn't happened? I found it to be pretty universal that anything I fixed was unfixed pretty quickly.

Re:Terrible editing culture (1)

readin (838620) | about 2 years ago | (#41778993)

I haven't encountered such people, though I did have a bad experience with some very unreasonable editors when I tried to edit a page related to global warming.

I think the behavior actually reflects the fact that so many articles have become good. When you work hard on something, spending time discussing and sometimes having heated arguments with other editors, you come to take a certain pride in your work and some relief in being "done". And if you have a good article, most of the edits will make the article worse so it becomes easy to get in a habit of reverting everything. Also, even some good attempts at editing may be making a change that has been tried, discussed - perhaps with a lot of bad feelings if the change is good enough to be worth arguing about - perhaps resulting in a compromise - and there can be a hesitation to re-open the topic.

I think a good editor will recognize a good faith effort and explain (on in the revert comment if there is space, or on the talk page if not) direct to the new editor to the talk page for further discussion. But I have seen editors who just don't have the patience.

Re:Terrible editing culture (3, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#41779139)

If we say that all interesting content is going to be covered, that all edits are going to be reverted, then we are also saying that we are going to judge Wikipedia the same as an idealized print encyclopedia, then we are missing the whole point. First, encyclopedias were never only about facts and figures. If we look at older editions, all encyclopedias have biases, fallacies and outright lies. They were, arguably, an important cultural artifact documenting a specific time and set of values.

Of course print encyclopedias are quite irrelevant, but in an effort keep them relevant the embedded interests tried to create this idealized encyclopedia in which facts were pristine and perfect as they could be. Any error was a temporary misunderstanding of other facts that would soon be corrected by the magical editors who were superior to anyone else in the world. This of course never existed, and if Wikipedia is going to reach it's full potential it has to be very clear about this.

The value of wikipedia is that if reflects a culture that can change more quickly that the print cycle of a encyclopedia, and a world that can be interested in more things that can fit in 30 volumes. Note that changes in the way we related to knowledge occurred prior to the widespread use fo the Internet and Wikipedia. My Brittanica was from the 60's. In the 70's it because a much more pop encyclopedia with much less of the scholarly focus we say from 1900-1970. This included shorter articles.So Wikipedia responded to a market forces that were well in effect by the turn of the century.

So if we say that wikipedia is something new we see that it will never be 'complete' as there will always be some piece of history, some trivia, some event that can be added as soon as someone want to take charge. Even now, there are stub articles that can filled in only someone had the context and knowledge. In that Wikipedia is still run by the people, and therefore it is something old, there is always going to be the element of the pages being a product of the current editors with their biases, which means that it won't be a pristine representations of facts. however, as certain people are going to have interested in certain pages, the biases will be varied. For instance Google will make sure that it's pages continue to look like marketing copy, but that does not mean that other pages cannot have an alternate point of view.

Re:Terrible editing culture (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 2 years ago | (#41779459)

Hey, here's a thought: Maybe the reason fewer people are editing Wikipedia articles is because 90% of the time, edits get instantly reverted by some spaz who's jealously guarding their page, typos and all.

I have had similar experiences with editing, and I have ceased trying to edit any articles. After a while, it just was not worth my time trying to fight someone who is standing over an article 24/7 to make sure no one changes it.

Loss of interesting articles to write (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778201)

Or frustration at the deletionists nuking anything added about (not-so) niche topics?

Notability (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41778273)

What articles about "(not-so) niche topics" were deleted despite citing three different scholarly or mainstream media sources independent of one another and of the subject?

Re:Notability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778317)

How dare you ask for reliable sources. Don't you trust every little thing I say?

Re:Notability (3, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41778445)

You don't need 3 different scholarly references for stub status. It would be nice, but a stub is that, a stub and if it doesn't have a stub tag, it should be tagged as such instead of deleted.

But stubs on "unfamiliar subjects to the editor" get deleted, because they're not complete enough. *table flip*

--
BMO

Re:Notability (1, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41778511)

You know, if you create an account on Wikipedia, you get a user space in which to keep your stubs while you look for sources to cite.

Re:Notability (4, Insightful)

Beren Erchamion (1953452) | about 2 years ago | (#41779171)

Which, of course, defeats the whole purpose of Wikipedia's open-content open-editing model, since now they're tucked away where casual readers won't ever find them.

Re:Notability (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41779503)

As soon as your stub article has references, you can move it to mainspace where casual readers will find it.

Re:Notability (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41778873)

What articles about "(not-so) niche topics" were deleted despite citing three different scholarly or mainstream media sources independent of one another and of the subject?

So, if some media slut says some inane inflammatory bullshit and gets all over the news, that can be cited and documented in Wikipedia... However, if one of us lowly netizens finally reverse engineers an undocumented file format, of use to many folks in the 3D graphics fields, it doesn't get in Wikipedia because there's not three independent "scholarly or mainstream" sources? Even if it's being used like mad in tons of applications, and no one can really find the data elsewhere even though they're searching for it and just don't know what exactly to call it?

Look, Wikipedia blatantly ripped off the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy website, (H2G2) which allowed anyone to add anything regardless of notoriety. It was great, and extremely helpful. There was something on everything. Too bad BBC shut id down. If you didn't want to know about the proper way to drink water upside down, then you didn't read the damn article. Storage is Cheap, esp. for text. Maybe if Wikipedia was more inclusive you'd have MORE EDITORS? Fuck you and your popularity contests.

Re:Notability (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779321)

I'd love to, but they've been deleted.

Re:Loss of interesting articles to write (0)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 2 years ago | (#41778941)

So where did the mean man delete you? Show us on the doll:

Local politician?
Local band?
Local stand-up comic?
Self-published book?
Long dead ancestor who built the first whatever out in nowheresville?

Re:Loss of interesting articles to write (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 2 years ago | (#41778945)

I'm not so sure of that. I'm pretty damn sure Catholic theology is a niche topic, but due to the superior nature of the search engine, Wikipedia has become one of my go-to sources for good discussions on obscure theological topics.

Having said that- it does seem to me that just from a statistics standpoint, 100,000 English articles is a bit small for an online general encyclopedia. Perhaps they need to adopt Google's business model and start building out more datacenters.

Not mature in a scholarly sene... so fscking what? (4, Interesting)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 2 years ago | (#41778277)

If some stupid intellectuals from Harvard, Yale, etc. aren't happy with Wikipedia's "scholarly maturity," then maybe they/their respective institutions should pony up and donate to the project.

I've done my part.

Re:Not mature in a scholarly sene... so fscking wh (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41778371)

I would love to exerts in a field become the editors for one or two articles in Wikipedia as part of the academic responsibilities. Nothing that would take more then an hour a week.

Re:Not mature in a scholarly sene... so fscking wh (3, Informative)

MarkGriz (520778) | about 2 years ago | (#41778709)

I would love to exerts in a field become the editors for one or two articles in Wikipedia as part of the academic responsibilities. Nothing that would take more then an hour a week.

I would love for experts in a field to become the editors for one or two articles in Wikipedia as part of their academic responsibilities. Nothing that would take more than an hour a week

I'm an expert pedantic speller.

Re:Not mature in a scholarly sene... so fscking wh (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#41779545)

I would love to exerts in a field become the editors for one or two articles in Wikipedia as part of the academic responsibilities. Nothing that would take more then an hour a week.

I would love for experts in a field to become the editors for one or two articles in Wikipedia as part of their academic responsibilities. Nothing that would take more than an hour a week

I'm an expert pedantic speller.

But it was all spelled correctly, just not the right words!

Actually, I have this nasty suspicion that a lot of the apps I use auto-suggest word completions when I'm not looking. Badly.

Re:Not mature in a scholarly sene... so fscking wh (2)

captaindomon (870655) | about 2 years ago | (#41778633)

Donating to the project, though, just helps to pay for server maintenance, connectivity, etc, correct? Donating money doesn't go towards hiring professional editors or anything. It just keeps the light on. If Harvard and Yale wanted to help on the quality, they shouldn't donate money, they should get a bunch of their faculty to start editing, right?

Re:Not mature in a scholarly sene... so fscking wh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779325)

If some stupid intellectuals from Harvard, Yale, etc. aren't happy with Wikipedia's "scholarly maturity," then maybe they/their respective institutions should pony up and donate to the project.

I've done my part.

So a tenured prof at Hahvahd can get in a flame war with a frustrated 25 year old dropout, wherein the main parameters for winning are (1) time spent debating, and (2) knowledge of wikipedia administrivia?

[sarcasm] Indeed, what a good idea! I wonder why the respective university administrations aren't making Wiki contributions a requirement for decent parking spaces right now! [/sarcasm]

Your post reminds me why I didn't like Wiki when it first came out: the irrational and angry anti-establishment attitude. The 'University degrees don't mean anything' crowd.

War of 1812 is an odd example (4, Insightful)

Urban Garlic (447282) | about 2 years ago | (#41778381)

The War of 1812 is an odd example to pick -- the summary makes it sound like it's a representative military history item for which there is lots of good scholarship, so that the readership and edit traffic numbers might generalize across other history articles.

But in fact, the War of 1812 has been getting more press lately, because it's currently the 200th anniversary. There's even a post-blog, 1812now, specifically about it, and a variety of interest-generating retrospectives in mainstream media.

Their broader point may not hold up for other, less topical pages.

Re:War of 1812 is an odd example (3)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#41778627)

Their broader point may not hold up for other, less topical pages.

For the specific sub-specialty of military history I study, it certainly doesn't. But after the bruising battles I fought (and lost) trying to get the base article even remotely into shape and useful... I'm disinclined to even try and fix/expand the balance. There's a bunch of soi-disant experts on the topic who'll revert any attempt almost immediately - and who'll zerg you if you even try any of the discussion/mediation processes.

Re:War of 1812 is an odd example (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | about 2 years ago | (#41779247)

Link us to the relevant discussion pages or diffs.

Re:War of 1812 is an odd example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779013)

And add to that all the propaganda from the Canadian government.

Re:War of 1812 is an odd example (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | about 2 years ago | (#41779131)

I think it's a safe bet that this article references the War of 1812 to glean a few search hits from people searching for actual information on the War of 1812.

Marketing tactics at work.

The End of Information Daily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778409)

There's always pop-culture. Can't you see the day when all new entries are limited to 140 characters?

Social media, the new encyclopedia.

Re:The End of Information Daily (2)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#41778915)

There's always pop-culture. Can't you see the day when all new entries are limited to 140 characters?

I can see the day when all entries are videos.

And I shudder.

Time to fork the project? (4, Interesting)

phrackwulf (589741) | about 2 years ago | (#41778419)

Maybe there is a need to split this project along the lines of the split between Red Hat and Fedora? Wikipedia as we know it today would continue as an open source, crowd-sourced knowledge base while the scholarship required to polish the project is applied to produce a more refined product that could be used to support the open source project? How do we translate what has been accomplished as an open, public knowledge product into an economical and refined knowledge product?

Wikipedia was originally the draft of Nupedia (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41778489)

Maybe there is a need to split this project along the lines of the split between Red Hat and Fedora?

They tried that. Wikipedia was originally the draft version of Nupedia, and Nupedia fizzled.

Re:Wikipedia was originally the draft of Nupedia (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | about 2 years ago | (#41778547)

Point taken, but just because a product that was half baked didn't sell the first time, does that mean we just sort of give up and never try selling the product again now that it is further along? Certainly, we don't keep trying for a win after the fourth or fifth loss but just giving up on the concept entirely seems somewhat premature?

Fork, Fork, Fork, All Day Long (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41779091)

Point taken, but just because a product that was half baked didn't sell the first time, does that mean we just sort of give up and never try selling the product again now that it is further along? Certainly, we don't keep trying for a win after the fourth or fifth loss but just giving up on the concept entirely seems somewhat premature?

And people continually try to fork it. The earliest instance of this that I remember is citizendium [slashdot.org] but often what spurs a fork is a very specific thing (okay sometimes they change multiple things but usually it's one big factor). And the reason for that is that Wikipedia has done very well. It's easy to criticize anything claiming to be the nexus of "good enough" human knowledge because any label like that is inherently flammable.

A more recent example is Conservapedia [conservapedia.com] which changes one big thing: NPOV now stands for Nixon's Point of View:

Barack Hussein Obama II (b. August 4, 1961, either in Kenya or Honolulu, Hawaii) was elected the 44th President. Promoted heavily by liberals, as demonstrated by his unjustified receipt of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, Obama won the presidency despite a short and unremarkable political career by outspending his opponent, John McCain, by hundreds of millions of dollars in 2008.

Now, aside from the entertainment value of that line, you have to tell me what your fork is going to do differently and how is that going to be better for your fork? I think that any attempts to fix this could result in even bigger problems for your newer-Pedia and would simply succumb to being a less popular Wikipedia. So what are your change(s) and what negative effects could arise from them?

What is missing (2)

grahamsz (150076) | about 2 years ago | (#41778457)

There's loads of local interest stuff missing. I'm not sure exactly where it could be acquired from, but I know when I take local tours of historical sites there are lots of interesting stories and ties with historical figures that are almost entirely uncaptured online.

Presumably it would require citing actual history books and the likes but it would require a reasonable effort to get that all online.

Re:What is missing (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41779089)

And it would be deleted for not having enough references or not being notable.

well-established reputation? scholarship? (4, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 years ago | (#41778485)

>> 'Wikipedia is now a mature reference work with a stable organizational structure and a well-established reputation. ...which is why NO ONE accepts it as the reference of record, right?

>> Jensen says Wikipedia should now devote more resources toward getting editors access...so that they could bring the articles up to a more polished, professional standard.

The current problem isn't that editors don't have direct access to the information; after all, most editors would rather edit than become subject matter experts. Instead, it's that it's not even worth trying to post any change to Wikipedia anymore. As a previous poster stated, it seems that there's about a 90% chance that any revision to any entry will be quickly redacted, whether it's a punctuation correction, a fact backed up by a reference, or just the addition of a reference. From the perspective of contributors with subject matter expertise, Wikipedia has largely become a waste of their time.

Re:well-established reputation? scholarship? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778897)

Then on top of that... Lets say for sake of argument what you say is 100% false. The perception of that is there. So even if it goes away. That perception will linger on for a LONG time. If you feel like your edit is just going to get tossed you will not do it in the first place. Even if it will not.

My biggest gripe? At some point 'lists of things' went away (they still exist somewhat but usually are missing tons of info). Those lists are *very* helpful in comparison shopping or trying to figure out which 200 (but only the 17 the original author thought was worthy) open source projects have what features (instead of trying them all). Or even something as simple as what episodes were on a TV show. The more popular ones are all tagged and listed out. Many of the older ones have had their lists yanked. As yeah no information is better than the 'bad list' I had before. Yet we can get a 10 page document on the intricacies of the lightsaber fully cited.

For goodness sake if you think it is bad just mark it out in the article and dont just wholesale remove it...

Still not finished (4, Funny)

kbob88 (951258) | about 2 years ago | (#41778677)

I just looked on Wikipedia for what happened on October 28, 2012, and there's nothing there! The 29th doesn't look very complete either. Jeez, how sloppy. So clearly it's not finished yet...

Nonsense, this is deletionist propoganda (4, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 2 years ago | (#41778699)

There are still plenty of Japanese cartoons, political ideologies and conspiracy theories that need pages and links to those pages in every other page that has the slightest real or imagined association.

Maybe ... (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41778727)

... its time to start making some new stuff up [xkcd.com] .

New Articles (5, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about 2 years ago | (#41778753)

After an encyclopedia reaches 100,000 articles, the pool of good material shrinks. By the time one million articles are written, it must tax ingenuity to think of something new.

It isn't that hard. There are plenty of local landmarks around. And there are always new things being built, and new major historical events occurring. And then there is foreign stuff. People write about what they know. Most Anglophones write about things that exist or occur in the English speaking world. There are plenty of famous people, places and historical events in foreign countries that either don't have articles or have very weak articles.

Re:New Articles (4, Insightful)

chebucto (992517) | about 2 years ago | (#41779195)

Exactly. This is why the 'notability' thing pisses me off: why not let there be an article for every tiny, minor thing? Where is the harm?

If I care enough about a the history of a the street I grew up on to write an article about it, and do a decent job of it (eg back it up with sources and do a neutral job of it), Wikipedia should be glad to have the info. And once you let in all the small things, and the minor historical figures, all the little battles and sub-sub-sub fields of philosophy, you get many more than 4 million articles.

Re:New Articles (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779315)

"Exactly. This is why the 'notability' thing pisses me off: why not let there be an article for every tiny, minor thing? Where is the harm?"

At least with respect to the general notability guideline, "non-notable" means "I don't have, and there probably aren't, even two reliable sources that talk about this subject on all the planet." Which, as a logical implication, means that the information within the article is either not particularly well-verified, or at least potentially biased since there aren't even two sources from which one might actually see any controversies on the subject.

The harm is the potential for false and/or biased information, even positive looking stuff can be quietly promotional. Other than those concerns, I (and, I sense, most WP editors) couldn't give a flying f**k about notability.

Four million articles? (4, Interesting)

Elbereth (58257) | about 2 years ago | (#41778759)

How many of those articles are about vapid pop culture topics, like Pokemon or Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

Regardless, I still like Wikipedia, and I contribute to it, when I notice obvious errors (increasingly rare) or poor grammar (much more common). I've even partially rewritten several articles, because the grammar and spelling were so atrocious. Although I'm philosophically what you might call a "deletionist", I'm too apathetic to actually bring up an article for deletion (or even to vote for deletion). Anyway, I figure that every article, no matter how stupid, deserves a chance to be fixed, before it's deleted.

I remember once editing an article that was being used for character assassination against some prominent NYC socialite. After I cleaned up all the personal attacks and gossip, someone accused me of being her public relations team. Ha. I have only one rule, when editing Wikipedia articles: never edit an article that you care about. It keeps stress levels minimal. If someone really thinks I care about NYC socialites, young adult romance fiction, 1980s death metal bands, or anything else in my list of Contributions, they're quite wrong. That's how I avoid burn-out, and, for that, I have to thank all the pop culture-obsessed nerds and gossipy housewives out there, for providing me stress-free articles to edit.

Or maybe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778775)

Maybe there aren't many edits anymore because lots of editors got tired of having their good faith edits reverted by the Wikipedia "ruling class" and have quit Wikipedia.

"central scientific concepts" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41778833)

If you aren't a physicist, don't look to Wikipedia for insight into any physics questions you might have. Those articles are written so full of jargon and filled with circular refrence spaghetti links that you will learn nothing of physical science without first having a college text book to make sense of the "refrence material" offered on Wikipedia..
The same can be said of math - only much, much more so.

Love/hate Wikipedia... (3, Insightful)

crankyspice (63953) | about 2 years ago | (#41778835)

obligatory humorous link to an article on [theonion.com] .

Meanwhile, Wikipedia has some serious credibility problems, as a federal judge in California recently observed:

“It is unfortunate that the parties were unable to provide more authoritative evidence. One court recently noted the danger of relying
on Wikipedia:

Wikipedia.com [is] a website that allows virtually anyone to upload an article into what is essentially a free, online encyclopedia.
A review of the Wikipedia website reveals a pervasive and, for our purposes, disturbing series of disclaimers, among them,
that: (i) any given Wikipedia article ‘may be, at any given moment, in a bad state: for example it could be in the middle of
a large edit or it could have been recently vandalized;’ (ii) Wikipedia articles are ‘also subject to remarkable oversights and
omissions;’ (iii) ‘Wikipedia articles (or series of related articles) are liable to be incomplete in ways that would be less usual in
a more tightly controlled reference work;’ (iv) ‘[a]nother problem with a lot of content on Wikipedia is that many contributors
do not cite their sources, something that makes it hard for the reader to judge the credibility of what is written;’ and (v) ‘many
articles commence their lives as partisan drafts' and may be ‘caught up in a heavily unbalanced viewpoint.’ ” Campbell ex rel.
Campbell v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 69 Fed.Cl. 775, 781 (2006).

“See also Badasa v. Mukasey, 540 F.3d 909, 910 (8th Cir.2008) (noting that Wikipedia is not a sufficiently reliable source on
which to rest judicial findings for the reasons stated in Campbell); Kole v. Astrue, No. CV 08–0411–LMB, 2010 WL 1338092,
*7 n. 3 (D.Idaho Mar. 31, 2010) (“At this point, it must be noted that, in support of his brief, Respondent cites to Wikipedia.
While it may support his contention of what the mathematical symbols of ‘’ refer to, Respondent is admonished from
using Wikipedia as an authority in this District again. Wikipedia is not a reliable source at this level of discourse. As an attorney
representing the United States, Mr. Rodriguez should know that citations to such unreliable sources only serve to undermine his
reliability as counsel”); R. Jason Richards, Courting Wikipedia, 44 TRIAL 62, 62 (2008) (“Since when did a Web site that any
Internet surfer can edit become an authoritative source by which law students could write passing papers, experts could provide
credible testimony, lawyers could craft legal arguments, and judges could issue precedents?”); James Glerick, Wikipedians Leave
Cyberspace, Meet in Egypt, WALL ST. J., Aug. 8, 2008, at W1 (“Anyone can edit [a Wikipedia] article, anonymously, hit and
run. From the very beginning that has been Wikipedia's greatest strength and its greatest weakness”).” Crispin v. Christian Audigier, Inc., 717 F.Supp.2d 965, 976 (C.D. Cal., 2010).

Definitely not 'scholarly mature.'

Disagree (2)

Urthas (2349644) | about 2 years ago | (#41779083)

Nearing completion? Hardly. Its veracity at points conflicts with alternative interpretations of an event or phenomenon, which cannot always, nonetheless, be discarded as a matter of course. That tension will always be present, and balancing the two will always be necessary. Let's not even mention spelling and especially grammar (except I just did, and it is too often atrocious). Mature reference work with a well established reputation? Certainly debatable; I personally know several professors who will not accept citing Wikipedia. Anecdotal, sure, but there must be a significant number like that. The nature of the work may be fundamentally changing, but the work on Wikipedia is FAR from over.

notability issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779135)

I've had fucking articles deleted out from under me due to "not notable".

If it weren't fucking notable I wouldn't have been looking at it.

horse fuckers.

OK, everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779167)

Stop doing anything notable ever. Wikipedia is almost complete. If you do anything interesting at all, it will just create more work for Wikipedia editors.

Original research? (1)

Zinho (17895) | about 2 years ago | (#41779359)

Jensen says Wikipedia should now devote more resources toward getting editors access to higher-quality scholarship (in private databases like JSTOR), admission to military-history conferences, and maybe even training in the field of historiography, so that they could bring the articles up to a more polished, professional standard. 'Wikipedia is now a mature reference work with a stable organizational structure and a well-established reputation. The problem is that it is not mature in a scholarly sense (PDF).'"

Hang on, that almost sounds like wanting people to do original research. I thought that was against Wikipedia policy. Training professional historians and getting them access to raw information sources would probably do wonders for the article quality, but I somehow doubt that the Cult of Wales would put up with such heresy. A lack of professionalism was taken as a known side-effect of volunteer-driven content creation, and considered a lesser evil than allowing any crackpot theorist to use the wiki as a soapbox (which allowing original research opens the door for).

That being said, having a few senior editors get technical writing courses and convincing organizations that publish peer-reviewed scholarly articles to open their archives to the public would both be great ideas.

Completion by deletion! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779361)

I gave up after having content deleted behind me that I added. I added totally fair use items like book covers, screen captures, and publicity photos (hint - they are PUBLICITY photos - you're SUPPOSED to reproduce them).

Those who delete will always win over people who contribute, because contributors will give up.

Editor access??? (4, Interesting)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 2 years ago | (#41779383)

"... getting editors access to higher-quality scholarship (in private databases like JSTOR), admission to military-history conferences..."

Um, no. The problem with this idea is that the editors - as well intentioned as they may be - are generally not scholars of particular fields. They will never really be in a position to judge these things. Worse, on historical events such as wars, the editors have a well-deserved reputation of resisting any interpretations other than those that are well-established and well-accepted. They generally do not allow controversial alternative views to be mentioned, however well-founded, because Wikipedia is about consensus.

If they really want to make the transition to academic-quality content, they need to find away to get experts in the various fields to contribute, and to not only allow but encourage the presentation of more than one viewpoint - while somehow still filtering out the crackpots. This will be a very difficult thing to achieve, will require a very different way of working. I frankly do not believe that Wikipedia is capable of this kind of transition, though I would love to be proven wrong.

Time to burn it down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41779515)

It worked in Alexandria.

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