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

Robert S. Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Mon Oct 25 22:56:45 UTC 2010

On 10/25/2010 02:05 PM, George Herbert wrote:
> General agree.  I do back of the envelope spacecraft mission planning
> with Wikipedia sources when on the road and away from my professional
> tools, and back of the envelope structural design with Wikipedia
> materials properties when similarly away from professional sources,
> but I know what I'm getting there and always go look up proper values
> if the BOTE work proceeds anywhere.  In some cases, I put the
> structural and astrodynamics data into Wikipedia in the first place,
> looking at the CRC, astronomical handbooks, and engineering data from
> manufacturers.
> The risk here is that amateurs don't do spacecraft navigation or
> structural design much.  They do - as a rule - take mediations and
> have medical conditions.  In that sense, Wikipedia medical information
> is much more of an "attractive nuisance" to the uninformed...

There is the issue of what I like to call "amateur pharmacology", other 
wise known as "drug experimenters".  This is an issue I addressed some 
time ago with the "Drugs:Fact and Fiction" Wikibook:  

Essentially those who try to act as their own pharmacist without any 
formal training and choosing deliberately to "experiment" with various 
drugs (including "illegal drugs"), do so at significant risk to 
themselves and to those close to them as well.  Those who use Wikimedia 
projects for dosing information or as a textbook as it were to 
self-administer these substances without the proper training is in for a 
huge surprise and will likely hurt themselves or those who they try to 
offer these kinds of drugs.

Something significant here too is that these folks sometimes wrap 
themselves up in the concept of "scientific research" but there is no 
attempt to record the results, study the literature to see what has 
happened before, or to publish findings.  Science in this case has as 
much to do with what is going on as a real "laboratory" has anything to 
do with a "Meth lab".

I could name other kind areas of scientific research where rank amateurs 
certainly would not generally be welcome, like an amateur nuclear energy 
researcher or amateur explosives testing.  Again, it is the same thing 
in terms of somebody engaging in a potentially dangerous activity where 
if they don't take precautions and try to at least learn something 
substantial about the topic first... something you don't get from an 

It doesn't matter if you are doing these things out of curiosity, they 
are simply dangerous.  I know of amateurs who do get into rocketry, and 
some of them have proposals to build vehicles that could get to orbital 
velocities.  Still, you aren't going to get the information to build 
these vehicles from information found in Wikimedia projects... except 
perhaps references that will point you to more proper sources of 
information that will be useful.

-- Robert Horning
SHOCKING: 2010 Honda Civic for $1,734.09
Is this price real? YES! We reveal the TRUTH!

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