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

David Goodman dgoodmanny at gmail.com
Mon Oct 25 05:57:52 UTC 2010

Whether or not we want it to be, whether or not it ought to be,
Wikipedia is being relied on. Our foundational principles do not
control the outside world.  What we have produced is being used as the
nearest approach to a reliable source most people  are willing to look
for--and in many cases actually is the closest thing to a reliable
sources they can reasonably be expected to find. Not that we're
particularly good, just that there is nothing as widely available that
is  better.

This gives us responsibility. Whether or not we are ready for it, it
gives us responsibility. We're no longer playing a computer game for
our own satisfaction. We are now responsible for covering
controversial subjects in an even-handed fashion, giving various views
the appropriate emphasis, and providing enough information that people
can judge them. We need to cover things with real consequences, and
get them right. Since people come to us for medical or legal
information, we need to provide accurate   information, while
explaining the limits of what we provide.   This is not a mechanical
process. It is editing in the true sense of the word:  it takes
judgement, it takes takes  research-- things we have been claiming are
against our basic principles.   And indeed they weren't not needed for
a play-project.  We may wish we were still playing. But we've grown up
and must take the responsibility that adults have, of working and
standing behind our work.

We have an obligation to provide all answers, and indicate which are
the accepted answers among them. We can not provide information from
scientific studies and news anecdotes and say they have equal weight.
If we report things people say that are not really true or that are
outright lies, we must explain their status.

There are some matters in the world where there are views that almost
every rational person who understands the problem considers far
fringe, and yet a very significant minority or even majority of people
in the world believe them to be true or at least possible. There are
matters in the world which a very significant minority or even a
majority think should not be judged by logic and science, and the only
evidence they want is the experiences of those who agree with them.
We need to explain those views, but we also need to  explain their

On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 9:44 PM,  <WJhonson at aol.com> wrote:
> In a message dated 10/24/2010 5:15:14 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> wiki-list at phizz.demon.co.uk writes:
>> Perhaps you aren't listening? Although I do notice moments where you
>> tend to make the same points. Still what I'm trying to do is to at least
>> get some here to think as to how one might produce a body of work that
>> can be relied upon. Where the body of work isn't continually under
>> attack or being buggered about with. >>
> Perhaps it's you were aren't listening.  Because we already know how "one
> might produce a body of work *upon which* one can rely".
> That's not the problem however with your "suggestions".
> Rather, you want to *change* Wikipedia into that sort of work.  Or rather I
> think actually you'd have wished it had been that way from the get-go.
> But it wasn't, it's not, and it's not really likely that this sort of
> approach is one in which you'll find a result that you would wish.
> Doesn't it seem to you like this sort of method, is not likely to work?
> I mean, posting your grievances here on Foundation-L ?
> W
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David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.

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