[Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 2 21:00:05 UTC 2010

> 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.)

I guess it is also worth thinking about our criteria for success. What is success? Is it to have as many editors as possible? 

I'd suggest it isn't. Editors are undoing each other's work all the time, and typing millions of words arguing with each other. It is not efficient. We could say that doesn't matter, because they're all volunteers, but it is inefficient nonetheless.

The real criterion for success should be that we have good, well-researched, stable articles that inform the public.

I agree with you, David, that credentialism isn't the way forward. But asking editors, nicely, to please do some research and to check what scholarly literature is available, in google scholar, in google books, and in academic publications databases, should not be too much to ask.

Speaking of academic databases, one thing which would be a great boon would be to get Wikipedians access to these databases. It's all right for those who have ready access to a library or university system, but many databases of academic publications are closed to the general public. You get an abstract and/or the first page, and that's it: more is not available without logging in. Often, you can't even buy the paper if you're prepared to shell out money for it.

This is something where the Foundation could perhaps help, by asking universities who support our work whether they would be willing to grant Wikipedians -- or at least a limited number of Wikipedians -- some sort of affiliation status, so they could log into these databases the same way their students do.



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