[Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?

Noein pronoein at gmail.com
Mon Oct 4 16:47:40 UTC 2010

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On 04/10/2010 17:54, Peter Damian wrote:
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Noein" <pronoein at gmail.com>
> To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
> Sent: Monday, October 04, 2010 4:06 PM
> Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Has Wikipedia changed since 2005?
>> I am sincerely asking you, without insinuation: how do you know you're
>> not one of them? What's the difference between the one who knows he
>> knows and the one who doesn't know he doesn't know if it's only about
>> self-perception (or social perception)?
>> Where is the universality of knowledge in this conception if it boils
>> down to intimate convictions ?
> There are well-established mechanisms for determining this.  I have had many 
> papers published, I am currently working collaboratively with another 
> academic on a book on medieval philosophy. I have no problem working with 
> people who understand the rules, I am told the quality of my work is good. 

This social acceptance (or credentials if you prefer) has a weak
epistemological value.[1] It's only convincing for the people of your
own circle - whether they're right or wrong is of no relevance -. For
people outside your circle, with whom you can't discuss or don't want
to, the arguments for your views are reduced to the authority: authority
of the number of believers, prestige and ranks of the apostles,
influence and mediatisation of the message, power and fearsomeness of
the church you belong to, if you allow me to use an analogy.
This unilateral way of handling down knowledge to the rest of mankind is
a fertile ground for domination about the rights to talk, the ways to
think, about the decisions that are to be taken.
I'm not saying it's currently happening in your circle. I'm saying that
it's an obsolete model for the sharing, free, collaborative, massive
project that is wikipedia, and that you won't be able to force it on
most individuals. Many editors, I believe, claim some sort of
independence of thought, though many don't have the required knowledge
to back it up, and I think this is the correct model from which a
universal knowledge can be build, despite its current limits (giving the
same powers to the ignorant than to the savant). Teach a mind to be
critical and it can learn everything. Teach a mind what you believe and
you just shaped a sheep.

If it's about choosing between expert knowledge and independence of
mind, I personally prefer the latter, because it will slowly but
ultimately lead to the first, while the reciprocal is not guaranteed.
Dealing with humans is much more annoying than with flocks, but that's
the only way forward I can envision.

That's why I believe that Wikipedia is right demanding sources and
objective (not social ones) arguments.

Although there is still some indecision if an article should be about
what people said (a historical and literal approach), what they thought
(a more comprehensive and philosophical one) or what the denoted reality
is (a more scientific and objective one).

Note, Peter, that I am not rejecting the value of your knowledge, your
critics about quality of articles or your proposals. I only disagree
about your model of communication of knowledge for wikipedia.

[1]: following popperian criteria.
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