[Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Sat Oct 2 20:01:39 UTC 2010

On 2 October 2010 20:53, Peter Damian <peter.damian at btinternet.com> wrote:
> From: "David Gerard" <dgerard at gmail.com>

>> Wikipedia does appear to have fallen into its own folk ontology: an
>> answer to the question "what is knowledge?" that is simple and obvious
>> enough for smart high school students. And I'm not meaning to
>> denigrate smart high school students - but they haven't even had four
>> years of wrangling with the issue of "how do we know what we know?" at
>> undergraduate level.

> David could you translate this section here please.  Are you saying that the
> question of what 'knowledge' that the WMF seeks to bring is a difficult
> question?

I didn't say or mean anything about the WMF. As I said, it's an
evolved folk construction of what knowledge means. And that this is a
hard question that actually getting really good at typically requires
four years of someone trying to beat it into the dense brains of

> Also, be careful not to confuse the content of what is to be
> known with the medium through which it is acquired.  For example if I
> explain x in a very simple way that anyone can understand, and if I explain
> x using very technical way, the knowledge x is the same in both cases.  It's
> just that in one case it has explained in an easier way.  We aren't talking
> about different knowledge here.

No indeed. That's why I say the question is how to get across to
idiots that they are, in fact, idiots - without breaking what clearly
works fantastically well on Wikipedia. (How to avoid, for instance,
falling into a credentialism death spiral.)

- d.

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