On 29/08/2010 16:46, David Gerard wrote:
On 29 August 2010 15:38, Peter
The problem is that until someone sits up and
notices the serious errors that
are propagated through Wikipedia (and which are now becoming part of the
folk wisdom of the internet), no one will be bothered. The problem is that no one
*knows* there are problems, and so no one can be bothered. I've started documenting
the problem in a small way, e.g. here
and here http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/06/avicennian-logic.html
, but this is only
in my own area of expertise.
What is the very smallest thing that could be done, I wonder?
Probably just documenting problems, as you note.
It is helpful that on Wikipedia the editorial process is largely
transparent, so the question "how did it get like this?" can actually
be answered. Wikipedia is not reliable, but it turns out that how
paper encyclopedias and newspapers were written was similarly
susceptible - with Wikipedia we can see inside the sausage factory
rather than pretending that the mass media is a happy unicorn-filled
fairyland of scrupulous fact-checking and expert supervision.
I've mentioned before that this was wrong for almost 2 years, and it
went through various edits and reformatting over that time:
I got three of my coleagues with Phd's in maths to look at it
independently and all three said something to the effect of "I'm going
to pretend I've never read that because otherwise I'll have to correct
it and I'm not prepared to spend the evening argue the toss with a
teenager." and they weren't alone, because other geometric modelers had
drawn my attention to it in the first place.
Now whether they would have had to or not isn't the point. The point was
that all had experience onwiki aguements, and all had independently
decided that they're time was better spent in ways other than agueing
with a wikieditor.