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Jim Lane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 06:48 PM
Original message
Wikipedia - update on DU article
The previous thread about Wikipedia is now locked, so I'm posting separately to make sure I reach all the DU members who had so much fun vandalizing the Wikipedia article about the tsunami.

Wikipedia has an article about DU (<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Underground >). Someone edited the article to add a mention of how some DU members had vandalized Wikipedia (<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Democratic_Un... >). I've reverted that edit, because I think it was a minor incident that doesn't merit inclusion in a summary article about DU. Just remember, though, that when you act in such an infantile fashion, you're handing people a stick and inviting them to beat you with it.

On the general question of Wikipedia's reliability: Yes, anyone can come along and change the article to say that the tsunami occurred in 2304 or 1812 or whatever. Anyone else can come along and change it back, though. There are people who are genuinely interested in working together, without being paid, to produce a valuable resource that's available to all Internet users without charge (and without advertising and without paid links). There are other people who want to push a particular agenda or who just want to amuse themselves by introducing errors. Wikipedia is an experiment, testing the theory that the sincere contributors will outnumber, and will fix the problems created by, the others.

Yes, there are right-wingers on Wikipedia. For example, one of them made this edit: <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_W._Bus... > to the article on Bush to remove most of the unflattering information. (The left column shows the affected passages of the former version; the right column is the new version.) The information has since been restored, though.

The fact is that people are using Wikipedia. According to Alexa, it's one of the 200 most-visited sites on the Web. <http://www.alexa.com/data/details/traffic_details?q=&ur... > That's not bad for a bunch of volunteers who have to scrounge for donations to buy servers.

I wish more progressives would contribute, in a constructive way, to Wikipedia. There's a lot of valuable work that can be done even within the constraints of the site's "Neutral Point of View" policy. If you choose not to spend time improving Wikipedia, though, at least don't mess it up.
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foreigncorrespondent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 06:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. Very well said!
I couldn't agree with you more!
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. Good job & welcome to DU, Jim!
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Kire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 06:59 PM
Response to Original message
3. yeah, that thread was stupid
Edited on Sun Jan-23-05 06:59 PM by Kire
a bunch of stupid children being really, really juvenile

of course, there's consequences if you're going to fuck with wikipedia. DUH!

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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. Sigh. I put a warning in the thread that it could make DU look bad
but it was too late to stop the giggling fools who somehow thought they'd managed to discover something most Wikipedia users didn't know. Let's hope it just blows over.
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. yup, I saw it...
Sadly it was too late. I still can't understand why changing earthquakes' dates is so funny though :shrug:
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Liberal In Texas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
5. Yes, that was very interesting.
The repugs like revisionist history.
And don't say anything unflattering about Fearless Leader, even if it is true.

How telling that the Clinton library has open records about the Lewinsky affair, the impeachment, etc. Reagan and Geo. the 1st records still have yet to be made public.

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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thanks...
I have never understood how someone can derive pleasure from destroying someone else's work.
:shrug:
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I think people were naive about the Wiki process, and broke it
just to see what would happen.

Then some folks just went bonkers that Wiki was dynamic.....
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Comicstripper Donating Member (876 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
8. Very true
Edited on Sun Jan-23-05 10:35 PM by Comicstripper
I love Wikipedia. I can spend hours on that site, consuming knowledge. And the best part is, I only have to read what interests me (Unlike school, where most of the reading is, "Fundamental Pre-Calculus: Learning How To Predict When A Ball Is Gonna Hit The Ground And How Tall A Flagpole Is. Also Sines!")
Anyway, I believe the Wikipedia staff also checks for accuracy.
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Jim Lane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. Sorry, but there is no "Wikipedia staff" checking accuracy
Wikipedia has a few hundred volunteer admins, but they have no greater role in policing article accuracy than anyone else does. Admins can block disruptive users. If an article degenerates into a "revert war", in which it's being edited every few minutes to flip it from one version to another then back again, an admin can protect the article to prevent further edits while the dispute is worked out on the talk page.

The supervising of article content, though, isn't entrusted to any centralized authority that makes binding decisions. Articles are improved as people see ways to improve them. (Another way to look at it is that, on Wikipedia, everyone's a mod.) The fundamental idea derives from the open-source community: "Given enough eyeballs, all errors are shallow." (See <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cathedral_and_the_Baza... > and, yes, I know Eric S. Raymond is no liberal.)

As with other encyclopedias, Wikipedia is not a primary source that you would cite in a work of serious research. As with other encyclopedias, though, it's a good place for a summary about a topic.

The most trenchant criticism of Wikipedia is the one you touch on when you say can spend hours on the site. With 400,000+ articles (in the English-language Wikipedia), hyperlinked to each other, and talk pages associated with most of them... it can be hard to leave. It really turns the Internet into the Procrastination Superhighway.
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
9. Thank you...
I was very upset about how some members thought it was fun to vandalize Wikipedia. Several times I've found info there that there was no where else to be found, and it was very useful.

Showing no respect towards the moderators of another website ran by volunteers is insensitive and no DUer should engage in it.
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ultraist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. I agree!
Leave the vandalism to the rethugs and their paramilitary hate groups.
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toddaa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-23-05 10:51 PM
Response to Original message
12. Wiki - Knowledge is collaborative
If you believe in such things as the Global Brain, then you will recognize Wikipedia as the next step in knowledge gathering. It is self correcting and must be allowed to evolve. Occasionally, it will make mistakes. Evolution makes mistakes as well, but it also adapts and overcomes those mistakes.
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 06:10 AM
Response to Original message
14. wiki kick nt
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. kick
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goobergunch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-24-05 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. kick (n/t)
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arcos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-25-05 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. kick nt
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