[Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

Peter Damian peter.damian at btinternet.com
Sun Oct 3 15:44:44 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <WJhonson at aol.com>
To: <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2010 4:33 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

> 1.  One of the foundational works that was used to create Wikipedia was 
> the
> 1911 EB.  Wherever that was flawed, we started out flawed.  I'm sure there
> are some who would say that this never occurred, because they can't 
> remember
> that far back.  However should anyone wish to add any article from the
> 1911EB, say on Truth or Avicenna or even to incorporate or restructure 
> such an
> article based on that, they are quite free to so do.

None of the problem articles incorporate much text from the Britannica 1911. 
Some of the biography problem articles have large bleeding chunks taken from 
the Catholic Encyclopedia.  This is out of date and also incorporates an 
obvious POV that is out of place with modern scholarship.

>2... In almost every single case, almost every, the article is lopsided,
> unsupported, has wild claims and specific years which we do not in fact 
> know... I
> don't blame the project for these flaws, I see them as a way to 
> contribute.
> I remember with what we started.

That is an answer to question 1, not question 2.  Question 1: are there any 

Question 2: If there is a problem, are there any underlying or systematic 
reasons?  You seem to imply there are problems.  OK, are there any 
systematic reasons?  (Or is it just random, that the humanities happens by 
chance to be one of those areas that have problems?).  Do you agree with the 
analysis put forward by Sarah, namely that it is the problem of persistent, 
aggressive editors who know very little but believe they are experts?  If 
not, give evidence that these are not a problem.

Try and address these questions in a systematic and logical fashion.

> 3. I would suggest Peter, should you think it possible, to start a new
> project which is devoted to Philosophy or even to the Humanities, which I 
> think
> is too broad personally, and build it up and use it as a basis from which
> others can make additions to Wikipedia.  That's what I do.  If I 
> encounter, as
> I sometimes do, an article that is so utterly lacking, that I cannot 
> simply
> make a few changes to it, I start fresh, from primary and secondary 
> sources
> and built my own article, in one of my own projects.  Then sometimes, when
> I'm satisfied at the thing of great beauty I've created, I will adds bits 
> of
> it back to Wikipedia.

Question 3 was: If there are any underlying or systematic reasons, can they 
easily be

Since you haven't said whether there are any underlying or systematic 
reasons, I don't see how you can answer question 3.  Or were these 3 answers 
of your own that occurred to you at random and are unrelated to my 3 


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