[Foundation-l] Expertise and Wikipedia redux

Virgilio A. P. Machado vam at fct.unl.pt
Thu Oct 14 23:54:37 UTC 2010


Whoever you might be, that's one heck of a post. Congratulations.

Want to get together on Meta? I have only two more months to go on my 
very first block there.

Maybe we can come up with a proposal for a multilingual Wikipedia for 
banned users.

I wonder if Larry Sanger would like to join too.

 From one banned user to another.


Virgilio A. P. Machado (Vapmachado)
(a.k.a. Public enemy number one of the pt.wiki, working on his way up in Meta)

At 19:24 14-10-2010, you wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "David Gerard" <dgerard at gmail.com>
>To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
>Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 8:56 PM
>Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Expertise and Wikipedia redux
> > And it didn't irritate you that this is a vice-chancellor saying these
> > things, with an aim to making you pretty much redundant?
> > (Vice-chancellors are not picked for their fluffy nature and goodwill
> > to academics who don't pull in large sums in grants.)
>Let me reply in more detail.  Will projects like Wikipedia affect employment
>in academia?  Discuss.
>1.  One business of academia is research, i.e. the production of primary
>sources.  But use of primary sources is forbidden in Wikipedia, so no change
>2.  Another business is teaching, and the awarding of degrees.  Given the
>choice between a graduate of one of the better universities, and a graduate
>of Wikipedia, what would you choose?  No change there either.
>3.  Some academics produce material intended for wider publication than the
>journals and specialised outlets - basic introductions, popular works
>(Russell made his money from History of Western Philosophy).  Wikipedia is
>allowed to *use* secondary sources.  But it can't *produce* them.  That is
>also forbidden by policy - see e.g. WP:RS and the other policy 'pillars'.
>Wikipedia is a tertiary source.  No change there either.
>4.  So who is Wikipedia putting out of business?  There are two classes of
>writers for encyclopedias.  These are the (rather poorly paid) recently
>graduated staff who compile sources, work with the specialised databases
>that collect together all the comprehensive information for the 'factual'
>articles.  They are supported by adminstrative and clerical staff.  It is
>this class of people that Wikipedia is putting out of a job.  The other
>class are those who have a specialism and who write the 'high level'
>summaries of a whole subject, the big articles that tie the encyclopedia
>together.  These are, or were paid somewhat more.  These probably are losing
>out also.  But you see the cost.  Wikipedia is good at compiling lists and
>basic facts.  But at articles which require a thread, a conspectus, an
>overall summary of a big, general, subject, it is hopeless.  (As I've
>pointed out here a few times).
>In summary, Wikipedia is hardly making a dent.  Where it is making a dent,
>it is by cheapening the product.  No win all round.

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