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

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 25 07:55:01 UTC 2010

> From: David Goodman <dgoodmanny at gmail.com>
> Date: Monday, 25 October, 2010, 6:57

> 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
> basis.

Here are some sources from the en:WP:V talk page* that lend weight to that argument:

"Seeking health information online: does Wikipedia matter?" —

"Based on its search engine ranking and page view statistics, the English 
Wikipedia is a prominent source of online health information compared to 
the other online health information providers studied."

"How do US journalists cover treatments, tests, products, and procedures? 
an evaluation of 500 stories" 

"Of 170 stories that cited an expert or a scientific study, 85 (50%) cited 
at least one with a financial tie to the manufacturer of the drug, a tie 
that was disclosed in only 33 of the 85 stories."

"Communicating Medical News — Pitfalls of Health Care Journalism"

"Journalists sometimes feel the need to play carnival barkers, hyping a 
story to draw attention to it. This leads them to frame a story as new or 
different — depicting study results as counterintuitive or a break from the 
past — if they want it to be featured prominently or even accepted by an 
editor at all."

"Press Releases by Academic Medical Centers: Not So Academic?"

"Conclusion: Press releases from academic medical centers often promote 
research that has uncertain relevance to human health and do not provide 
key facts or acknowledge important limitations."

* Sources were contributed by User:QuackGuru


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