Like Erik, I don't feel I can send some people a link to Wikipedia. The "notorious goat-man" can strike at any time. This means that no matter how bright my little girls get, I don't dare tell them about Wikipedia.
So far, my family has not needed to use NetNanny, SafeSurf or anything like that. I gave my girls a start page, and they click links from it. www.pbs.org/kids is a safe starting point, and I've collected Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony links (no Powerpuff Girls) for them.
But until the 'pedia creates a filtering mechanism, it remains (in my mind) an experiment: we are several dozen or maybe a few hundred people TRYING to build an open, free encyclopedia. We are SEEING IF it can be done.
I don't know how to filter out vandalism and maintain openness.
I don't know how to certify quality and maintain openness.
But I think we should keep trying to figure it out. Larry, Elian, and Erik have come up with good ideas. And Cunctator has come up with some good objections :-) But it ain't over yet.
>We have no guarantee that the entries will remain the same either.
>The bioastropedia is an excellent web site, but we aren't going to
>import their articles wholesale and leave them untouched forever, are
Well, no, I didn't expect us to. I guess the question is "at what point have articles changed enough from the source that it's ok to remove the citation"? I would (today, anyway) urge people to leave the citations in and change "works cited" to "works consulted"--if for no other reason than that several notable academics have been caught plagiarizing lately.
What I want, when I request an article to be transmitted from the PediaWiki database to my computer screen, is an article created, last-edited, or certified by my choice of:
* a user with sysop or above authority (41 sysops, 3 developers, 1 owner = 45 people, i.e., the "cabal")
* a signed-in user who is on my "trusted" list
I would also like the option of being informed of the existence of contributions from any of:
* anonymous users (i.e., not signed-in)
* signed-in users whom I have not yet placed on my "trusted" list
So if I had browsed to [[Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart]] any time in the last two months, I would have seen versions made by Andre, Magnus or Brion, since each sysop or developer rights. I would not have seen Ben-Zin's foreign-language links or 188.8.131.52's "Queen of the Night" tweak -- until Sept. 16th, when Andre added a foreign-language link.
What would I have missed? Nothing I really care about. The article was just as good, for my modest purposes, with or without .202's minor copy-edit. The only improvement I really appreciate is the image Magnus uploaded. So for the Mozart article, Erik's "alternative viewing mode" idea works perfectly for me.
We can hammer out the details, if we choose to make Erik's idea into a full-fledged feature request. Here are my own suggestions:
* show a flag (possibly optional) indicating the existence of a later, "uncertified" change
* set the default for editing to "edit the latest version"
* provide an option to "edit the version currently displayed"
As a reader, I may be curious to see what some anonymous or "not yet trusted" contributor has added, so it's to my advantage to be able to access later, "uncertified" versions. I might discover that someone like Clutch or Lir has decided to get with the program and start writing NPOVishly. Or I might find that some new and wonderful user like Zoe has appeared, rising like Venus out of the foam, and is offering excellent contributions from day one.
As an editor, I will often want to compare the "certified" version of an article with what some political hothead or vandal has done to trash it. Please understand the context in which I'm saying this. For me, "certified" would be "users on my trusted list". For you, "certified" means users on YOUR trusted list. This would be an improvement over just using my watchlist, because that only shows the latest change, however minor. With Erik's idea, I would also get a "certified/non-certified" flag (maybe even a color, like green for "goofy" or blue for "be careful").
Well, that's all I have time for right now -- and this letter is getting too long anyway. If there's any interest along these lines, I will create a [[Wikipedia:Certification]] page where we can refine the details. Much as we did with Jeronimo's country project.
As I've made clear already, I'm all for trying to find a way vouchsafe the
reliability of those of our articles that actually are reliable. We've
just got to make sure we don't shoot ourselves in the foot doing it!
I'd like to ask this: what is the purpose of this present certification
*If* you're trying to improve the credibility of Wikipedia among people
who *really need* accurate information about the reliability of
articles--people like students, teachers (at all levels), librarians, and
anyone doing serious research--then I don't see how this proposal can
work. Why should any of these sorts of people believe that an article
*actually is* reliable, just because a dozen participants have pressed a
button saying it's good--if it's possible that not a single actual expert
has looked at it? We've all seen instances of articles that looked OK to
nonexperts but that turned out to be, in the opinion of an expert that
happens by, decidedly inadequate. It doesn't take an epistemologist to
see that accuracy cannot be vouchsafed by a vote--10, or 100, or 1000
approving Wikipedians certainly *can* be wrong!
But that isn't the most important issue here. The most important issue is
this: I suspect that, if I understand it correctly, implementing the
proposal would actually *undermine* Wikipedia's credibility. Here is what
all sorts of sober thinkers, not on the project, will think about it when
they learn about how articles are certified: "The same people who *write*
these articles, of uneven quality and obviously questionable credibility,
are the ones who presume to certify that they're accurate? Well, if the
people in charge of the project think *that's* how to guarantee the
reliability of an article, that's reason to think the articles *aren't*
reliable, and that the project shouldn't be taken seriously."
By contrast, the proposal I made not long ago (I know, I haven't followed
up--I suddenly got very busy), of having a completely separate website,
managed by actual subject area experts, containing a subset of Wikipedia
articles, achieves the purpose (improving the credibility of some
Wikipedia articles among librarians et al.) much more handily.
By no means am I saying that credentialled people, or "experts," are
(because they're experts) *necessarily* reliable. Plenty of people with
lots of credentials can't give us a trustworthy opinion as to the
reliability of an article. But we can't do better, and it's the opinion
of these people--the duly anointed "knowers" (the tongue's in cheek
here)--that students, teachers, and others look up to for their benchmark
as to what is currently known. That's a fact. It's not a WikiWiki fact
or attitude, but it *is* a fact, and we can't change it. The more
"elitist" proposal might not be "WikiWiki," but there IS no WikiWiki way
to satisfy teachers, librarians, and serious researchers about the
reliability of a WikiWiki.
Now, if satisfying the librarians et al. is not your aim with the
proposal, I think that's too bad; but then I really do have to wonder what
the point of this certification proposal is. Is it a way for Wikipedians
to win kudos from each other? If so, can we please not do that?
Wikipedia is *not*, I think, about building a community and winning kudos
and stroking egos. It's first and foremost about building an
Adding a new sig!
"We have now sunk to a depth at which the re-statement of the obvious is
the first duty of intelligent men." --George Orwell
>Just a crazy idea, but there seem to be two addresses:
>www.wikipedia.org and www.wikipedia.com
>How about one for the portal and one for the redirect?
>elian, waiting for the answer "this won't work, because..."
... we are not a business but an org-anization. I think. Hope. :-)
Of course, if we'd be the "Nupedia Foundation", we could recycle
nupedia.org for the portal page...
Or are we the "Free Encyclopedia Foundation"? Or something else entirely?
Just a crazy idea, but there seem to be two addresses:
www.wikipedia.org and www.wikipedia.com
How about one for the portal and one for the redirect?
elian, waiting for the answer "this won't work, because..."
On Wed, 2002-10-30 at 18:42, elian wrote:
You failed to include my vote against voting. You may consider that a
"blank", if you wish.
> Possible proceedings:
> 1) Doing nothing and leave things as they are
> 2) put a redirection in place
> 3) put a portal in place
> 4) since the majority seems to favor the portal solution, further
> discussion could be directed towards developping a portal solution which
> is acceptable for its opponents, too. For doing this it would be necessary
> to know what the portal should include to be acceptable..
> 5) Any other ideas???
Hmm...this doesn't seem like a survey intended for your personal use.
This seems like an attempt to force decisions based on a push poll.
There has been more than enough discussion on what the opponents of the
portal "solution" consider the problems. It should not be necessary to
Numerous other ideas have been presented.
It would be best if you somewhere stated explicitly in one place how you
perceive the problem and what your proposed solution is. For example,
see [[Wikipedia talk:Bots]].
>Today, I contacted David Darling, creator of the Astrobiology
>encyclopedia (http://www.angelfire.com/on2/daviddarling) and asked him
>about possible relations between our projects. Here is the reply I got.
>IMHO the link he asks for is OK for new articles or major improvements
>("This article based on [http:... this one, with permission]"). Thought
>I'd ask the list first, though.
I personally wouldn't have a problem with it--many of the country articles state their original sources (CIA/U.S. Dept of state website), as do many other articles--*but* he should know that, as a wiki, we currently can't guarantee that the citation will remain there permanently since anyone could remove it. So he'll have to decide if he wants to go ahead with it or not. That is very generous of him to consider it, though. :-)
> Tokerboy has uploaded a bunch of record album covers,
> without permission of the various copyright holders.
> I don't have the time or the sysop privileges
> to delete them, so can someone else. Cheers
They should have the same "fair use" status as Isis's
videotape box covers: as long as they're just being used
to illustrate articles about the albums, they're fine.
On Wednesday 30 October 2002 10:35 am, wikipedia-l-request(a)wikipedia.org
> I personally wouldn't have a problem with it--many of the country articles
> state their original sources (CIA/U.S. Dept of state website), as do many
> other articles--*but* he should know that, as a wiki, we currently can't
> guarantee that the citation will remain there permanently since anyone
> could remove it. So he'll have to decide if he wants to go ahead with it
> or not. That is very generous of him to consider it, though. :-)
Whatever happended with the idea of have a log-like credits:namespace for this
type of information?
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)