[Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

Peter Damian peter.damian at btinternet.com
Sun Oct 3 17:13:04 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Anthony" <wikimail at inbox.org>
To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Sent: Sunday, October 03, 2010 5:01 PM
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

On Sun, Oct 3, 2010 at 11:52 AM, Peter Damian
<peter.damian at btinternet.com> wrote:
> I gave a list of problematic articles. Here is
> one of them again.
> http://ocham.blogspot.com/2010/08/argumentum-ad-baculum.html

>>>I really can't comment on that one without first learning more about
argumentum ad baculum (I agree with you that the Wikipedia article is
not a good one at presenting it - the examples of fallacies and the
example of a non-fallacy are not even in the same form).  The link you
provided just says Wikipedia is wrong, but it doesn't really explain
why.  Yes, there is an implicit step missing from the argument "that
you should not do that which you do not want to do", but that's not
the same as saying the argument is fallacious.

I thought I had explained the problem.  The article says that the following 
syllogism is valid.

If you drive while drunk, you will be put in jail.
You want to avoid going to jail.
Therefore you should not drive while drunk.

The problem is that it mixes 'want' and 'should'.  In the post linked to 
above, I wrote " But it doesn't follow that you shouldn't drive when drunk. 
'Should not' or 'ought not' expresses a moral conclusion. This does not 
follow from any psychological assumption such as wanting or desiring.".

On the verifiability thing, when I say an article is 'wrong' or 'contains 
mistakes', I mean, is not supported by reliable sources.  The issue I 
mention above is explained in any good elementary article on deontic logic 
e.g. here http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-deontic .

>> You fell down.  "Wrong" does not imply unverifiable.  Verifiable does not 
>> imply "Right".

It does in Wikipedia.  All dubious claims should be supported by reliable 
sources.  Any claims that contradict reliable sources are 'wrong' or 

>>Bad" is judgement based on morals ? You're revealing your bias that there 
>>is right and wrong, good and evil, and that some articles are evil.

No 'bad' as in an article contains serious mistakes or errors. Mistakes or 
errors (in Wikipedia) are defined as claims that contradict reliable 
sources.  E.g. 'the earth is flat'.  Reliable sources say that the earth is 
not flat, so any article claiming this without qualification would be 

More information about the foundation-l mailing list