Debate:Do Wikipedia's flaws endanger the project
Wikipedia established itself to be a "storehouse" of human knowledge - without hierarchy or political bent. Anyone can edit, anyone can whine, anyone can change, etc. No limits are placed on what can be included (to the point that inclusions remain user friendly/safe.) With that in place and in mind, wiki has done exactly what it intended to do. So many people edit wiki, that a virtual consensus exists for each and everything that is there. "consensus" does not = truth or fact, mearly "this is what we all have agreed (or been bullied into) that exists. I often want to pull hair in the native American topics, cause the texts that are used and cited are ones that continue the whole "white man defines Indian" rhetoric. But since people who disagree with that are on the fringe, and live only in obscure journals criticizing the study of American Indians, editors of the wiki simply do not know of them, or care. But by it's self-definition, wiki is not the place for research, and until or unless I can convince enough people I'm right, all edits challenging the norm will be changed.
But is that a weakness? or just a symptom of the project's standards and terms?
I don't see how anything wiki does would "endanger" the "project" at large, because it is simply one tool that has ground rules "here is what we attempt to be". And I'm sure it will be replaced by something eventually. All things are. Doesn't mean it didn't succeed, by the way.--En attendant Godot"Such is life." 09:50, 19 November 2008 (EST)
No not really
No not really i tried to ad a negative point that hybrid vehicles just are fashion statement and where not green in the manufacturing process but it was deleted even though i could find a number of anti-hybrid sites . 15:04 User:Dolphin674 11/19/80 (WET)
Wikipedia has massive flaws - but its saved me more than once
Wikipedia's single biggest flaw is its rejection of expert opinion - in that, a 14 year old high school kid is just as qualified to write on a topic about the Crimean War as a history professor who has specialised in that area. This is a massive problem - there is no system to check and ensure evidence present isn't fabricated or mis-represented. Crafy editors are able to insert nonsense into articles and usually last a long time - my favourite example is that of a random user who inserted into the JFK article that John F. Kennedy was involved in his own assassination plot, something the user picked up from a very dubious internet source. Hilarious as this is (The addition stayed up for something like three months) its very dangerous to the uninformed reader who just wants information. And herein lies the fundamental problem - It has become most peoples first stop shop for information.
However, I must admit, it has saved me on more than one occassion with last minute assignments. Well, that and google book :-) MarcusCicero 10:35, 19 November 2008 (EST)
- Well, WP rejects all "opinion", or tries to. However, ironically, that 14 yo is more likely to have a source at hand when writing about the Crimean War than a 45 yo professor - while writing, anyway. Why? Because the 14 yo is studying it or looking it up for the first time, hence has source (textbook, etc.) at hand. The 45 yo prof knows what they are writing about without need to recheck sources. I do think that one of WP's hardest hurdles is going to be getting academics to contribute, since not only do they "do it for a living" already, but they are also taught to do what WP does not allow - draw conclusions and generate original work. ħuman 15:37, 19 November 2008 (EST)
- When I was 14 I thought I knew everything. When I was 18 I thought I knew everything. When I actually started studying history properly, in a real university setting and further afield, only then did I realise how little I know. I will put it to you as a fact, that it is impossible for a 14 year old to know more about the Crimean War than a Professor who has specialised in that field, because, precisely, the professor has went about the business of vast large scale primary source reading, a massive body of secondary source reading, and no doubt, a considerable amount of his own writing. The problem is that people at that age think they know everything, it usually takes age and experience to counter this. MarcusCicero 19:28, 20 November 2008 (EST)
- Writing at WP is not about "what you know" - it's about what you can write reasonably well and reference. A brilliant and correct article without references is useless to them; a short, reasonably readable one with references is useful. ħuman 19:04, 19 November 2008 (EST)
I hate it when people call Wikipedia "wiki" - especially on other wikis. Rant over. ħuman 15:27, 19 November 2008 (EST)
"So many people edit wiki[pedia], that a virtual consensus exists for each and everything that is there." This is actually far from true, I have come across many articles that probably haven't had much attention. Most were reasonably accurate, but some were a bit of a muck. Of course, any "fixing" I did while visiting proves your point rather than negates it ;) Also, "consensus" is not exactly what their goal is - it is referenced factuality. Where the conflicts come in are situations like you describe, where the preponderance of sources are written from a POV that is being debated/overturned. So it's not a POV of WP problem in cases like that, it's a POV in academia (or elsewhere) issue that must be fixed or balanced first. Imagine what it's article on women's rights might have looked like in, say, the 1920s for a comparison. Or the change in perspective over so many historical/political issues that occurs, sometimes glacially.
In other words, since WP is only a tertiary source, it will always suffer due to the presence of shoddy or outdated work in primary and secondary sources. They struggle to indicate where this might be the case, but it's hard to tell how well they do with that. I suppose I could go look up BIA and see how it's handled... ħuman 15:34, 19 November 2008 (EST)