[Foundation-l] Misplaced Reliance, was Re: Paid editing, was Re: Ban and moderate

wiki-list at phizz.demon.co.uk wiki-list at phizz.demon.co.uk
Sun Oct 24 15:52:45 UTC 2010

On 24/10/2010 14:20, Fred Bauder wrote:
>> One would certainly hope that engineers weren't copying data from
>> wikipedia. The issue though isn't the use put by Engineers and Doctors
>> but rather the use put by normal people that are clicking on a search
>> engine's 1st link, and where the site is saying Encyclopaedia and there
>> is a general assumption that the information that you read is accurate
>> baring any cultural bias.
> Taking this problem seriously, how can we mitigate misplaced reliance?

Well you could put a banner above every article that read "The 
information contained on the page could well be nonsense".

But really the issue is one of having every edit immediately visible to 
the world. Wikipedia is sometimes compared to Open Source Software, and 
whilst anyone can change the source code, you don't get to hack the 
toplevel distribution of Linux for instance. Instead the changes are 
community reviewed before they get submitted to core. Of course you are 
free to take your own version and hack away at it in your own little 
corner, but your changes aren't automatically reflected back into 
everybody's version.

The open source crowd take a pride in the continual quality of the code. 
Here on wikipedia the quality of the information isn't held in such high 
regard, its enough that its right most of the time. I'll repeat my 
calculator analogy: A calculator that randomly adds two numbers wrongly 
is useless even if it only does it 1:100000 times wrongly.

So there needs to be an assessment of classes of articles that the 
community consider should be held to 'Calculator' or 'Linux' standard 
and should be locked from edits until reviewed. ie articles in those 
classes should automatically fall under level 2 protection of "pending 

Secondly an assessment on what constitutes encyclopaedic information. 
Does an article absolutely have to mention each and every rumour, 
half-truth, or crackpot opinion? Encyclopaedic information doesn't 
change from day to day or even from month to month.

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