I'd like to build on an idea first flagged by Ashibaka; see
I'm a collector of old atlases, and like the idea of sharing samples of
the more aesthetics & interesting maps.
There are three 'ingredients' I like;
- Wiki's capacity in co-creation,
- the University of Texas' way of etaining the beauty of the map itself
(see http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/map_sites/hist_sites.html )
- the accessibility of Google Maps?
In contrast, I don't seek to replicate Atlapedia, or Encarta.
A couple of years a fellow collector of old atlasses and I explored
whether the jpeg 2000 format would hold promise, but my impression is
that this format (eg. http://www.jpeg.org/jpeg2000 ) is still being
worked on by a committee.
I too welcome comments.
>Actually I don't really see the difference with a classical newspaper.
>They can very well damage reputations... and actually they do ! But
just like freedom of
>the press, freedom of speech is more important than individuals and
Laws allow special
>liability regimes for both the press and wikipedia.
It's important to be clear here. There is no 'special liability regime'
that protects any publisher, editor, or author from charges of
liability. The doctrine is clear: if you write something or publish
something about someone that is *perceived as libelous* that person can
sue you. And such suits occur all the time (especially in the UK). God
grant it won't happen to WP, but it is important to consider that it
could (and, in some cases, perhaps should).
There is a more general consideration, tho: repeated notices in the
*trusted* print press to the effect that WP is not trustworthy will
drive people away. WP's reputation is on the line. So WP has both good
legal and practical reasons to institute some sort of (let me just say
it) formal editorial control over quality.
This, if I understand, is just what is being discussed now.
The Atlantic Monthly
>And in this case, I don't see how ethical issues enter into it at all.
Like this: deciding what you are going to say and what you aren't going
to say is on some level an ethical or moral decision. Similarly,
deciding what you are going publish and what you aren't going to publish
is an ethical or moral decision. Now, we can deny this, but denial
doesn't make it so. In the case of the offended party in USAToday, WP
(whoever that is) facilitated the publication of arguably libelous
statements. Those statements harmed that individual. I can't speak for
you, but this makes me uncomfortable.
>If the biography is inaccurate, it should be edited, and in fact anyone
>offended person) can do so. The ability to sue whoever first made it
Maybe, but as someone said earlier, what if he hadn't found the article?
What if it had seriously damaged his reputation? What if this damage
extended to his ability to make a living and support his family? The
point about slander and libel is that the damage it does is very hard to
undo. Would correcting the article get this man his reputation back? I
The basic problem here is that no one stands behind the factual claims
on Wikipedia--no publishers, no editors, no authors, just some amorphous
and constantly changing "community." I should add that I say this as a
*big fan* of WP. It worries me.
The Atlantic Monthly
>I find it ironic that this guy founded the "Freedom Forum First
>Sounds like he doesn't really care that much about the First Amendment.
Re the first amendment, and the authors failure to edit his own article,
The Wikipedia project itself bears some responsibility here. If you are
going to provide a soapbox for folks to stand on and exercise their
first amendment rights, you are in part responsible for what they say.
This is common sense, and SOP in all "establishment" (read "trusted")
print publications. The editors stand behind what the authors say. As
Mr. Seigenthaler says, his bio, which was broadcast from our soapbox,
was full of errors, some of which (by his accounting, and hopefully not
that of any court) were libelous. Alas (and in distinction to
traditional print publications with bylines), Mr. Seigenthaler has no
recourse, because he can't really find out who wrote the words that he
finds offensive so that he might take legal action. These are serious
ethical issues, and I don't think we should dismiss them.
In a message dated 11/30/2005 7:09:03 PM Eastern Standard Time,
I wasn't talking about the article in question, I was talking in general
about the kinds of pages on my watchlist where this happens (which are
mainly politics/philosophy-related). Sorry for the misunderstanding.
I still contend that we should not just be randomly removing material that
isnt sourced. We should not be working on the assumption that the material is
inaccurate. Rather than removing material, ask for sources or find people to
help source it. I want us to start with the assumption that the material is
good, unless proven otherwise, not that it is bad, unless proven good. Just
removing people's good-faith edits is not improving wikipedia either.
There was a discussion a while back about introducing
new citation markup as part of the Wikicite project.
Yet today there is still no specialized mark-up for
defining citations within an article. At best there
is the footnote feature, which replicates the
typographic conventions of citation in the print world
down to its fundamental limitations, such as its
inability to clearly delimit its own scope (i.e. which
parts of the text make use of a particular citation).
This problem is compounded in a wiki content-creation
environment; an editor can- in complete good faith-
insert new content in the middle of a footnote'd
sentence that hides the fact the new material is
My proposal back then was to use an enclosing citation
markup, something like:
Though this was meant as a stepping-stone to other
projects, in the near-term it can be used to catch
"citation holes" within an article by having the
renderer flag those areas of text that are unsourced.
Not only will this warn readers which sections of an
article are unreliable, it will also direct editors to
those parts of it most in need of their attention.
Here is my mock-up of the idea:
Outside of a few exceptions, an article should ideally
have a citation for EVERY factual assertion. Walter's
example of the Soi article actually only confirms my
point. There may be no books on the subject, but
there are probably lots of other "texts", such as
maps, guide books, civil engineering manuals, etc.
> 5) Almost all sois also have a name.
> I first wanted to be bolder as I have never seen a
> soi that doesn't also
> have a name. But I decided to be a bit less sure
> about it
By encouraging editors to prove every assertion with
evidence, we confront one of the most prevalent, if
lesser, evils on Wikipedia (which I've certainly been
guilty of before)- the resort to "obvious"
off-the-top-of-the-head knowledge which may not quite
be true, is probably remembered less than accurately,
and so must be couched in many qualifiers to hide
these two facts.
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In a message dated 11/30/2005 6:00:01 PM Eastern Standard Time,
This'll be a complete waste; no one will ever look at the "frozen" wiki and
it'll be ignored. (Being 'wiki' or not is not relevant; it'll simply never
been seen. To be useful, the stable versions need to be right out front and
fully integrated into *.wikipedia.org where people are already looking.)
What we need is a tagging system within the wiki, for a review team to use to
mark certain revisions in certain states.
Articles with verified revisions will show those by default to the public,
a notice at the top of the screen about their status and if there are newer
Articles without verified revisions will have a notice at the top that they
haven't been reviewed, making clear the 'in-progress' state of the system.
I suggested a validation scheme like this about two years ago on meta.
In a message dated 11/30/2005 1:07:07 PM Eastern Standard Time,
I've now started removing any additions to pages I have on my watchlist
which I do not think are common knowledge and have no source for the
claims, and I have asked contributors to cite where they are getting
this information from.
I didnt want to get into this debate, but this kind of reaction worries me
no less than the problematic article itself.
Yes, the article was problematic, but it was one in 850,000. Yes, there may
be other problematic articles out there (in fact, I am convinced that there
are), but their number is miniscule as compared to most articles.
The problem article, and the ensuing press coverage, should be an eye-opener
to everyone. Rather than just worry about quantity (the number of articles,
or the number of edits), we should be worrying to the same degree, if not
more, about quality (how comprehensive, how accurate). Of course, this is much
more difficult to measure, but that is what will ensure that Wikipedia is a
high quality reference work. Deleting material because it is not yet sourced
will not ensure that.
Let's take advantage of this challenge to really improve our quality. Let's
not use it to take apart the efforts of many thousands of well-intentioned
volunteers who added what they knew. If we do that, the vandals have won.