In my opinion, university degrees are no guarantee for quality. I've
seen so many uninspiring mediocre academics (not all of them are like
that of course) that it makes me question todays education system. So
let's play safe and limit editorship to Nobel laureates.
Another point: let us say several tens of thousands of articles qualify
for "Wikipedia Professional". The screening will be a huge undertaking,
but it can be done. But after that, how often will people be willing to
go through the whole certification process again and again in order to
approve possibly small additions and corrections? Probably not too
often. This will lower the movation of wikipedians to contribute to the
"Wikipedia for Dummies". Their efforts will be unseen and not
appreciated by the general public once the Pro Edition is a fact.
I am not against freezing articles to deal with random troll droppings.
I am vehemently against an elitist approach. It blows the whole concept.
How many wikipedians have university degrees right now? Probably quite a
few. How many of those concentrate on their field of expertise? My guess
is: a lot less. Wikipedia is a hobby, even experts want to take a break
from their daily work every now and then, and Wikipedia provides this.
So many of these experts will be in fact amateurs when working on
Wikipedia. This is guesswork of course. My point: if amateurs have
accomplished so much already, it would be a disgrace to make them second
>In my opinion, university degrees are no guarantee
>for quality. I've seen so many uninspiring mediocre
>academics (not all of them are like that of course)
>that it makes me question todays education system.
Oh I agree - One thing I've found out while working on Wikipedia is that my
college professors are far from all knowing or neutral. Same goes for my
college textbooks. The Wikipedia process has, on a regular basis, greatly
improved upon my knowledge of many different subjects.
>Another point: let us say several tens of thousands of
>articles qualify for "Wikipedia Professional". The screening
>will be a huge undertaking, but it can be done. But after that,
>how often will people be willing to go through the whole
>certification process again and again in order to approve
>possibly small additions and corrections?
The same thing can be argued for free software; Who is going to go through the
polishing and performance testing of free software so that it is reasonably
safe and easy to use for the user? And yet there are many GNU/Linux
distributions that use professional programmers to do just that.
>I am not against freezing articles to deal with random
>troll droppings. I am vehemently against an elitist approach.
>It blows the whole concept.
But the reality of the world we live in is that a great many people will not
let you into the door of an interview without certain pieces of paper
indicating you successfully completed some type of process. This is also a
major criticism of Wikipedia; that articles are not necessarily checked by
"experts" and therefore they should not be trusted.
As I have already indicated I think this is flawed reasoning - but it still is
a very widely-held viewpoint.
So I think it would be useful to have a Nupedia stamp of approval on selected
Wikipedia content. That satisfies the critics and is one more way to further
That's all - the last thing I am is an elitist; I am, above all else, a
>Wikipedia is a hobby, even experts want to take
>a break from their daily work every now and then,
>and Wikipedia provides this.
Yes I agree - I am, for example, a trained biologist and yet my contributions
to the history, chemistry and geology sections far outshine my contributions
to biology. It is fun to learn new things. But that is about the article
creation process - I would consider my duty as a Nupedian to check
biology-related articles so that people in the very common elitist mindset
can think it is safe to use those articles.
So I guess I'm being pragmatic (wanting our content to be viewed by the
largest possible audience) while you and others are being idealistic (wanting
to rebel against the whole notion of the elitist mindset).
Both views are valid and have their pros and cons.
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
steve vertigo wrote:
>1. Stable version is a euphemism for "selected
>for quality" a brilliantly disguised elitism that, if
>seen for what it is -- leads to a direct conflict with
And Erik's idea doesn't also select for quality? All I'm saying is that
Nupedia can take it to the next level - no changes to Wikipedia required. The
GFDL explicitly allows for redistribution so I'm puzzles why you think that
is a conflict.
Your other points were cheap personal attacks and I won't dignify them with a
>I know, but what's the point?
>Why not just kill off Nupedia and
>advertise Wikipedia as a single project?
The point is that a main criticism I always here about Wikipedia is that it is
largely not written by people trained in the areas they are writting. But
that is the whole point of Nupedia. Therefore we take the best of Wikipedia
and put it through the expert approval process and the result is something
that can't be criticized for that reason. Also having a different name makes
it clear that those articles are different than regular Wikipedia ones (a
"stable" Wikipedia article is an oxymoron anyway).
>If Wikipedia is not simple enough, not easy
>enough to use for the kind of experts who
>can help in certification, then it seems we
>should make it simple enough -- perhaps by
>having a special skin for the purpose.
>See, my main concern is about having
We already have the experts - let's use them in Nupedia, revive the Nupedia
brand as a stable, experted-approved distribution of Wikipedia and that will
attract even more experts. All editing will still be on Wikipedia so every
Nupedian is also a Wikipedian. I see this as setting-up great synergies
between the two projects.
>I feel that getting the experts hooked
>on Wikipedia might be way cooler.
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
Catching up on my e-mail, I've read a lot of comments and discussion on the various proposals. Rathe than trying to fit into dying threads, etc. I'm going to toss ib my six cents worth (3 comments) in this one message.
1. We do need a sifter project and a stable base. As more outside references (google, web sites, etc.) point to Wikipedia, I'd like the casual reader/browser to find a worthwhile product.
2. I'd like to see the electronic version kept under the Wikipedia brand. I understand the desire to see Wiki as Wiki friendly, with open edits, etc., etc. and the desire for a stable base. However, bear in mind that serarch engines and reviewers look to site hits and visit totals. I'd prefer something like -- http:/en0100.wikipeda.org/wiki/Article.htm -- rather than to dilute us through multiple domains.
3. The BP process seems OK, adding some controls to limit access and movement (syssop status?) to the en0100 (version 1.00) protected pages.
Technically, the en000 page doesn't need to be a database entry, just a reference to the time stamped page.
Thanks for a lively discussion, I will now resume lurk mode.
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>Then comes again the old idea of making a
>New Nupedia again -- control everything! --
>show us your credentials! Lets sell textbooks!
>What a load!-*
No - Wikipedia stays the same. The only difference is that another project
takes our articles, improves them and then puts the results back into
Wikipedia. And nobody has proposed selling textbooks.
If you don't want external projects doing this to the text you submit then you
are in the wrong project.
>Well, here's the thing. Our Main Page is protected.
>Our Main Page links to the Brilliant Prose page,
> which would also be protected. The Brilliant Prose
>page would only link to verified revisions of articles.
>A user can choose this path
>Main Page->Brilliant prose->Article
As I said - I think that is a great idea. But I also see within that idea a
way to kick-start Nupedia and feed it already high-quality content. Then
Nupedians (most of whom will also be Wikipedians) have relatively little to
do except certify content based on their own credentials.
GNU/Linux distros do this all the time - polishing of the free software code
so that it fit for the masses. This does not prevent the KDE people from
first having their own stabilization process. However the result of the two
processes is a superior product in the end.
>And they will never see an "unstable" article -- these
>pages would always be in a reasonable state. It is the
>same thing as a separate site, but happens entirely
>within Wikipedia. We might have to streamline the whole
process -- turn BP into a directory of pages, make this directory
> part of the start page, and warn readers that pages linked
>from pages within that directory may not necessarily be in as
>good quality. This would not preclude us from also using a
>category system that contains *all* Wikipedia pages, not just
>filtered ones. On the other hand, we would retain wikiness and
>encourage people to also browse and participate in our unstable
>sections. I think that's a good thing.
Again - all great ideas.
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
Ulrich Fuchs wrote:
>With an "official" cannibalization of Wikipedia arcticles for
>Nupedia articles there would be no content - people do not
>like it to write without being acknowledged.
What are you talking about? By law the Nupedia article would have to give full
credit to Wikipedia and have a link back. Our content is already being used
in many, many other places as well - this is not cannibalism. That is the
whole point of the GNU FDL - re-usability of the text.
>They get this acknowledment right now by supporting the
>free encyclopedia idea *directly*.
And the people who commit free software patches to CVS are not *directly*
supporting free software? I don't get your logic.
>I bet most of the contributors will have a very bad
>feeling about not doing the "final" thing any more,
>but being just the idiots who do all the work for some
>guys and girls at Nupedia who will be the "gods" which
>- at the end of the day - decide rather authorically what
>is good content and what is nonsens.
I'm not advocating that Wikipedia should not also have its own process for
making what it calls a stable version - I'm just saying that the result of
any such a process can be further certified by an additional process. If a
particular result of that process isn't liked by Wikipedians then it doesn't
have to be used in Wikipedia (simply revert the page).
The reason why the Nupedia brand makes sense is because any "stable" version
of an article would necessarily be static - nothing wiki about static. There
is furthermore nothing "wiki" about a printed version.
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)