[Foundation-l] [WikiEN-l] Accountability: bringing back a proposal I made nearly 2 years ago

Robert Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Thu Mar 15 20:43:57 UTC 2007

David Gerard wrote:
> On 15/03/07, luke brandt <shojokid at gmail.com> wrote on foundation-l:
>> Any views from the Foundation, or others, in light of the discussion and
>> straw vote:-
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Credential_Verification#Straw_poll_on_each_proposal
>> This needs to be resolved quickly (if public interest is to be taken
>> into account) But only one proposal seems to be garnering significant
>> support in the EN community - luke
> I note particularly these comments from User:Armed Blowfish -
>     I believe that any credential or identity verification system will
> increase systemic bias against people from developing countries,
> people without documentation, and people too poor to get a good
> education, if any education at all. UNICEF estimates that one third of
> the world's population do not even have a birth
> certificates.(http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0098-7921%28199809%2924%3A3%3C659%3AUODBRI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-6&size=LARGE)
> (http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/media_35255.html) The economic
> inability to get a good education, as is common in developing
> countries, does not make someone less intelligent.
I would have to add here that I believe that even the distinction of an 
asumption that if you are from a "developed" country that you have money 
oozing out of your orafices is one that also has to be shot down, and 
killed completely.  Even in so-called developed countries, there are 
many individuals who don't have college educations due to circumstances 
and a decided lack of opprotunity.  Certainly it is easier to get one 
from a country who has a pervasive attitude of encouraging their 
citizens to get a college education and provides that opportunity where 
possible, but there still are "working poor" even in the most 
enlightened and developed countries of the world.

And I believe you can get very meaningful contributions from many of 
these same individuals who certainly don't have a PhD.  The difference 
in the success of Wikipedia vs. Nupedia is a very clear example that 
having a PhD is not necessarily a manditory prerequisite to developing 
an outstanding reference work.  Least anybody forget, it was clearly 
stated that degrees mattered with Nupedia contributions, and it was felt 
that only somebody with a PhD *in that very subject* could contribute 
what we would call a featured article class Wikipedia article today.  
Somebody with only a mere bachelor's degree would only be capable of 
making what would be called a stub.  While certainly people who possess 
the knowledge level of a PhD can (and do!) make meaningful and 
substantial contributions to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, 
they are not the most exclusive set of individuals who contribute to 
featured articles.

It would be interesting to go through the FA articles and see just how 
many involved major contributions that even mentioned educational 
credentials at all, or where it even was mentioned in the first place.  
While I havn't done this sort of statistical analysis, I would think the 
results of any such search would reveal a decided lack of educational 
credentials on most subjects by its primary contributors.  And FA class 
articles would be on the statistical tail where I think you would be 
more likely to find educational credentials brought up in serious 

-- Robert Horning

More information about the foundation-l mailing list