[Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

Nathan nawrich at gmail.com
Mon Oct 4 15:34:46 UTC 2010

To sum up a little bit:

Perhaps because of some popular caricatures of the subject of
philosophy, even those who choose to edit philosophy articles may not
appreciate the actual expertise involved in being a trained
philosopher.  Philosophers, and philosophy in general, are treated
with less respect than other academic subjects and experts.

At the same time some topics that in academic philosophy are very
complex and the subject of a large volume of scholarly inquiry also
appear approachable to lay people. Many are issues that interest or
confront lay people at an early age, and the resulting sense of
familiarity leads non-experts to assume they understand more than they

These two factors combined frustrate actual experts, and cause them to
abandon the project in despair. That leads to the current state of
affairs, where the philosophy related articles are generally of low

As for solutions -- we've discarded identifying credentialed experts
or privileging expert contributions over others in some systematic
manner. Peter has proposed involving Jimmy in a sort of publicity
campaign, but even if this succeeds in attracting more experts to
Wikipedia it doesn't solve the underlying problems driving experts
away. These same issues, by the way, afflict the more popularly known
subjects in medicine. The approach of the Medicine Project and its
participants has been to keep at it over the course of years, develop
a specific reliable source guideline for their field, work together as
experts to improve and protect quality content, etc. Perhaps the
philosophy experts can learn something from projects with similar
problems that have managed them with some success? Of course we
reliably burn out physicians and researchers editing in the medicine
subject area, so that isn't really a long-term solution either.


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