Insanity at Wikipedia – Authours Not Credible Sources of Information

“I recently petitioned Wikipedia to delete this misstatement, along with two others, my interlocutor was told by the “English Wikipedia Administrator”—in a letter dated August 25th and addressed to my interlocutor—that I, Roth, was not a credible source: “I understand your point that the author is the greatest authority on their own work,” writes the Wikipedia Administrator—“but we require secondary sources.””

see An Open Letter to Wikipedia About Anatole Broyard and "The Human Stain" : The New Yorker.

This just goes to show that a community, for all the best of intentions and developing techniques for dealing with all kinds of situations can and does get it rather wrong. They’ve painted themselves into a corner, not trusting anyone but the web… It’s a form of paranoia, fearing real people.

I have encountered this myself. I have contributed to Wikipedia occasionally for years whenever I had some information I felt would improve an article. It used to be that one could just add the information. Now that’s unacceptable to the crowd. Guardians of truth protect each article to the extent they want a link to the web for each sentence. Otherwise, they see it as unsubstantiated. They have thrown the baby out with the bathwater in their intense fear of dirt.

The result is that powerful and well-connected people and organizations can provide all the links they want through “technological evangelization“, astroturfing and other means fair and foul while real people are shut out. The wisdom of the crowd can be replaced by the ignorance of the few.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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2 Responses to Insanity at Wikipedia – Authours Not Credible Sources of Information

  1. I have encountered this myself.

    What information were you providing, Mr. Pogson? Hopefully it wasn’t your theory on how some 40% of today’s PC production is shipping with Linux and that the news is being kept quiet.

  2. dougman says:

    This is all very true and salient; I once added bits of information to improve an article myself, but had it rejected, all because of the username I choose to use. WTF?????

    Anyways, I decide to create my own wiki for various subject matters I deal in. Computers and IT in general are a hobby that I run as a side business in my spare time.

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